The Door by the Staircase

The Door by the Staircase


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The Door by the Staircase by Katherine Marsh, Kelly Murphy

Twelve-year-old Mary Hayes can't stand her orphanage for another night. But when an attempted escape through the stove pipe doesn't go quite as well as she'd hoped, Mary fears she'll be stuck in the Buffalo Asylum for Young Ladies forever.

The very next day, a mysterious woman named Madame Z appears at the orphanage requesting to adopt Mary, and the matron's all too happy to get the girl off her hands. Soon, Mary is fed a hearty meal, dressed in a clean, new nightgown and shown to a soft bed with blankets piled high. She can hardly believe she isn't dreaming!

But when Mary begins to explore the strange nearby town with the help of her new friend, Jacob, she learns a terrifying secret about Madame Z's true identity. If Mary's not careful, her new home might just turn into a nightmare.

Award-winning author Katherine Marsh draws from Russian fairytales in this darkly funny middle-grade fantasy novel, now available in paperback.

Praise for The Door by the Staircase

* "Well-drawn characters, an original setting, and a satisfying resolution are the ingredients that make this carefully crafted middle-grade adventure a highly rewarding read."
-Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "Marsh has crafted a sparkling tale full of adventure, magic, and folklore."
-School Library Journal, starred review

"[An] engaging, almost cinematic story . . ." -The Wall Street Journal

Praise for Jepp, Who Defied the Stars

New York Times Notable Children's Books of 2012
The Wall Street Journal Best Children's Books of 2012

"Narrating a young adult novel from a dwarf's perspective is nothing short of inspired.—Marsh transcends genre to create an engaging narrative complex enough to keep not-so-young adults turning its pages."
-The New York Times Book Review

* "This shining gem is a must-have."
-School Library Journal, starred review

* " epic search for love, family, respect, and a destiny of one's own making."
-Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "Incorporating elements of adventure, romance, tragedy, intrigue, and science, the novel conjures a place and time not commonly explored in young adult fiction ?"
-Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

Praise for The Twilight Prisoner

* "Readers should be drawn in by the complex relationships between Marsh's protagonists and Jack's continuing existential struggles, caught between the worlds of the living and the dead."
-Publishers Weekly, starred review

Praise for The Night Tourist

Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery, 2008

* "This intelligent and self-assured debut will compel readers from its outset, and leave them satisfied as it explores universal themes of love, loss, and closure."
-Publishers Weekly, starred review

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781423137856
Publisher: Disney Press
Publication date: 01/03/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 145,028
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Katherine Marsh is the Edgar Award?winning author of The Night Tourist, The Twilight Prisoner, and Jepp, Who Defied the Stars. She grew up in New York with her Russian grandmother who lovingly prepared many of the dishes in this book. Katherine currently lives in Brussels, Belgium with her husband and two children. Visit her online at

Kelly Murphy is an award-winning illustrator working predominantly with traditional and mixed media. Since receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design, she has illustrated a number of books for children, including Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck and the New York Times bestseller Masterpiece by Elise Broach. Visit Kelly online at

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The Door by the Staircase 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
This book is an imaginative use of a classic Russian character, Baba Yaga. It is a combination of fantasy, supernatural and folklore using the theme of orphan who is unwanted, finally finds a family and earns their love. It also develops the theme of young children who are loners, finally finding a friend and being willing to do whatever they need to help them. The book begins with Mary trying to escape the orphanage. Her mother and brother died in a fire while Mary, who had snuck out to the fire escape to read a book her brother had given he, survived. She was moved to an orphanage which she dislikes very much. The woman running it is mean, cheap and does not like Mary. When Mary finally escapes the building using the chimney, she is trapped by a whirlwind who wakes Mrs. Boots. Mary is dragged back inside, miserable. The next day, an old woman arrives at the orphanage and wants to adopt Mary. Mrs. Z, a Russian lady, promises to feed and take care of Mary.Mary happily leave the orphanage with nothing but her book and the clothes on her back. Mary's new home is located at the edge of a town called Iris. It is a town full of charlatans who perform "magic" for tourists. Madame Z tells Mary to steer clear of them or she will be taken, but she meets and develops a friendship with a young boy named Jacob. Madame Z on the other hand, appears to have real magic. She has a house that is alive, a talking cat, a flying fire-breathing horse and a flying mortal and pestle.Mary and Madame Z have a comfortable relationship, but something seems to be wrong. With the help of her new friend Jacob, they uncover the truth and have to save not only Baba Yaga/Madame Z, but the town and woods around the town. I had a few minor issues with this book. The first is that the book starts off strong, but then starts to drag a bit. DO NOT stop, because the ending is fantastic. I am also not sure about he title. Yes there is a door by the staircase, but it is really not the main point of the story and was rather misleading. Having said that, the way the author developed the relationships between the characters was exceptional. There was nothing force, but it was allowed to develop naturally. The villian was not unveiled until near the end and it was quite exciting. Overall a good read, but remember if it gets slow, do not give it. A great Middle Grades book that should be in all school and classroom libraries. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.