The Forbidden Door

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
On the smallest star in the sky, in the Valley of the Bao-Bickle tree, live Reena and her parents, who have always resided in a cave. When her mother tells her fabulous stories about a forbidden place called Outside and a golden orb known as Sun, Reena knows she must find the door leading there. Once Outside, however, Reena meets the terrible Okira, a monster who gets her power from beautiful thingsor beautiful people. Reena is a liberatorlike Esther or Joan of Arcbut despite its classic theme, the tale suffers from melodramatic writing and unclear movement. Heyer's elaborately detailed illustrations of fantastic creatures give a baroque feeling; her ogres are wonderful. The intricate details add to the story's dreamlike quality, but cannot compensate for the flaws of the sentimental and wordy narrative. Ages 3-8. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 3-4 Reena and her parents, the last of their kind, live safely in an underground cave filled with wondrous treasures. One day during her explorations, Reena comes to an ancient tapestry which hides a door that leads to the dangerous outside. A hideous monster named the Okira traps her in vines. Little winged creatures help rescue her and help her steal the Ruby Crystal, the source of the Okira's power. Finally Reena and her parents can emerge from their cave. The bland text lacks vivid language and precise descriptions of setting and characters. For example, the Okira, a major character, is solely described as ``a creature of the most horrible proportions, with eyes full of evil.'' The book also lacks drama and tension. Although Reena is held captive, what her horrible fate is to be is never defined. And finally it lacks cohesiveness and imagination. The ending is standard: the Okira is captured, and Reena and her family live happily ever after. All that is missing in the text can be found in the illustrations. Beautifully rendered in a fantasy/surrealistic style, they are filled with fascinating creatures and intricate settings, all fully conceived and strongly colored. Heyer relies on her splendid illustrations not only to expand the text, but also literally to tell the story, and they are not enough to save this original fantasy story. Karen K. Radtke, Milwaukee Public Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140507522
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/10/1992
  • Series: Picture Puffin Series
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 320
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.36 (w) x 10.82 (h) x 0.09 (d)

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