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The Door in the Wall

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,533 Ratings  ·  562 Reviews
The bells clang above plague-ridden London as Robin lies helpless, cold, and hungry. The great house is empty, his father is fighting the Scots in the north, his mother is traveling with the Queen, and the servants have fled. He calls for help but only the stones hear his cries. Suddenly someone else is in the house, coming towards Robin. It is Brother Luke, a wandering fr ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published August 10th 1998 by Laurel Leaf (first published 1949)
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Rawala Al-Jariri it is a england 14th (1300-1399) century that goes in a lot of place in england one is london
The Giver by Lois LowryHoles by Louis SacharA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleNumber the Stars by Lois LowryBridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
The Most Deserving Newbery
44th out of 95 books — 2,499 voters
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls WilderAnne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryLittle Women by Louisa May AlcottThe Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George SpeareThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Best Children's Historical Fiction
42nd out of 604 books — 654 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Patti Richards
Oct 23, 2008 Patti Richards rated it really liked it
This is a sweet and simple story of triumph over adversity in a time when answers to illness were rare, wars were plenty and commitment to duty often meant great sacrifice. Lots of hard lessons for a ten year old to learn in any time period and in any culture, but Robin learns his lessons well and in believable ways. The author is almost prosaic in her use of language as the story flows with a lovely rhythm and meter throughout Robin’s adventures. Her mastery of the medieval language structure a ...more
Aug 06, 2011 MizziQ rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle Isenhoff
Aug 10, 2011 Michelle Isenhoff rated it really liked it
I love a story with a wealth of meaning behind its words. This one is exemplary. Within, young Robyn’s father has left for the Scottish wars, his mother has gone to wait on the ailing queen, and Robyn awaits John-the-Fletcher who will escort him to the manor of Sir Peter where Robyn will serve as squire. But Robyn takes ill and loses the use of his legs, John-the-Fletcher never arrives, and the servants flee for fear of the plague that rages through London.

A monk named Brother Luke carries Robyn
Mar 21, 2016 Julie rated it did not like it
I had to read this and do a book report on it in 5th grade (approximately). I remember it being the most dry, torturous book I'd read up to that point. I wonder what I'd think of it now?
Jul 09, 2015 Kate rated it it was ok
Huh. Most old award-winners are different from modern books, but interesting anyway. This one, I can see why it didn't fly with those kids today. A somewhat wooden set of characters, lots of moral lessons, and odd (perhaps inaccurate) historical detail (never let anyone tell you history doesn't change!). I spent most of the read trying to decide what was really wrong with Robin (polio?) and enjoying the illustrations. I have liked other books by deAngeli but I'm not sure what made this deserve t ...more
Jul 07, 2015 Jill rated it it was amazing
I read this aloud with my son Andrew for his summer reading list. The language took some getting used to, but we loved the themes of this book. Knowing and loving someone with a physical disability made the message even more pertinent. Highly recommend!

When you come up against a impenetrable wall, you only need search for the door that will enable you to pass through it.
Mar 01, 2010 Lobstergirl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childhood
I didn't quite understand why this merited a Newbery Medal, but maybe the pickings were slim that year. The story, about a young boy living in medieval England who loses the use of his legs and is helped by monks until his parents come back from their courtly duties, reminded me of this comic strip:

Sep 22, 2010 Jill rated it liked it
Recommends it for: 10+
Shelves: newbery-medal
1950 Newbery Winner.

I liked this more than other Newberys set in the middle ages. I liked the writing more in Good Masters! but this was much more pleasant overall (for kids) and had less death and suffering...maybe it's not as true to the experience of living during that time but it's a good story to get kids interested in Medieval England. I'd have them read this before Good Masters!.

"The weather was neither rainy nor fair, neither hot nor cold, but somewhere in between, "as English weather
Feb 19, 2014 D.C. rated it it was ok
A decent story, I suppose. But it is so torturously slow-paced that my mind wandered off so many times that I can't keep track of them all. I was left with many questions at the end. What sickness did Robin have? Why did he of all people go out to get help for the war? Why did it have to have such a cutesy-wrapped, unrealistic ending? The medieval language is terrifyingly accurate, and the pencil illustrations are gorgeous. But unless you really love slow-paced stories or medieval history, I wou ...more
Benjamin Thomas
This novel was awarded the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1950. That is often a sure sign to avoid a book but in this case I was drawn to the setting: England during the Middle Ages, as the bubonic plague is sweeping across the country. Young Robin is sent away to become a knight like his father, but his dreams are dashed when he loses the use of his legs. Since his parents are away, serving the king and queen during war, and the servants abandon the house, fea ...more
Nov 18, 2014 Amy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2010-2019
Another good book I read with the kids. I think with the Crusades and stories about the pilgrims fleeing, somehow one forgets how much good the humble people in the church did. It is also something to contemplate being unable to reach any of ones family, as we are always connected now, with the age of smart phones and social networking. My children liked the book (they were 5, 7, & 9 - all boys). I do wish we had read it slower than a chapter a night.
Robin is the young son of Sir John de Bureford. His father is away fighting the Scottish and his mother is attending the queen. While he is on his own he falls sick and loses the use of his legs. Then the plague hits London and all the servants abandon him. He is taken in by Brother Luke who helps take care of him and encourages him to strengthen his body. Once the plague is over, they travel to Lindsey where Robin is supposed to be a squire to Sir Peter. When the castle comes under attack by th ...more
Aug 16, 2008 Wendy rated it it was ok
Shelves: newbery
I wanted to like this more than I did, but found I just couldn't click the 3-star button. The characters were all right, but I didn't find the story very engaging, there were hardly any female characters, and it was a bit message-heavy. As far as boy-in-medieval-times-Newbery-winners go... I preferred ADAM OF THE ROAD.
Erica Vinskie
Apr 10, 2015 Erica Vinskie rated it it was amazing
A novel need not be historically accurate in every detail in order for it to be so atmospheric you feel like you've been transported to the place by time machine. While The Door in the Wall may not meet the former criterion, it definitely satisfies the latter. Hence, this title has remained my favorite work of children's literature since I first discovered it in the 6th grade, and Marguerite de Angeli my favorite children's author and illustrator of all time.

From the utterly enchanting illustrat
May 19, 2015 Schuyler rated it it was amazing
I loved this one growing up. Glad to finally read it again. I think the author does an excellent job with plotting as well as simple lessons that children can be inspired by without making it too obvious. Plus, a fun adventure story. :)
Jeremy X
The Door in the Wall was an okay book, and in my opinion, not deserving of a Newberry. Yet it does have nice attributes, and I can see how some people enjoy it. The book contains lots of descriptive language and important themes, but there is so little going on. What I mean is I was never really excited for what was coming next, I was never surprised by what happens, and I was never sitting on the edge of my seat. I was uninterested and unhooked until the end, when there was finally real action ...more
Dec 04, 2008 Soccerfields rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: noone
Recommended to Soccerfields by: mom
DO NOT READ THIS BOOK! This is the worst book I've ever read in my whole entire life. If there was a zero star I would rate it a zero star. WARNING: DO NOT READ!

Rachel Heffington
Feb 01, 2013 Rachel Heffington rated it really liked it
A very dear, very simple, very accurate little book. One I think every child ought to read.
Jose Valadez
Mar 03, 2015 Jose Valadez rated it really liked it
The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli is a fantastic short novel with fantastic illustrations. The dust jacket consists of old medieval like ilustrations of a family on a horse going to or moving away from the city. the dust jacket goes all the way to the end of the dust jacket which consists of more families. The novel follows the path of a ten year old boy named Robin in medieval England who gets separated from his family and later on developed an illness which is believed to be polio ...more
Sara Whitford
Apr 06, 2016 Sara Whitford rated it it was amazing
This is a charming coming-of-age story about how through faith, friendship, and perseverance, one can overcome circumstances that seem insurmountable. When young Robin loses the use of his legs, how can he ever think that he'll fulfill his family's expectations that he'd become a knight like his father? And yet, over the course of this story, he comes to find out that he's capable of much more than he realized and he grows in wisdom and compassion along the way, as well.

I had never read this bo
Leah Beecher
I read this with my two daughters for our homeschooling unit in British history.
This is a great work of historical fiction set in England during the middle ages.
A perfect companion for any teacher or parent looking for a "living book" for their child's or their own enjoyment. Short, beautifully illustrated with pencil sketches {an important feature for me...I have rejected books solely on uninspiring illustrations}, a fast-paced plot, and a good moral tale. Set in the times of knights and squir
Laura Verret
Nov 13, 2012 Laura Verret rated it it was amazing
Marguerite de Angeli, you may remember, wrote The Skippack School which I recently reviewed.

The Story.

Robin should have been training with Sir Peter de Lindsay in the noble ways of knighthood. Instead, he is lying in London on a sick bed – crippled. Thinking that he would be joining Sir Peter soon, Robin’s mother, Lady Constance is serving the Queen, while his father is fighting with the king. Robin feels helpless and alone – what will become of him?

Praise be, a monk by the name of Luke takes hi
Jun 24, 2010 Ilona rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 10, 2012 Courtney rated it liked it
Shelves: odu-libs
Genre: Historical Fiction
Summary: Robin, a young boy that is separated from both his mother and father, becomes crippled and loses the use of his legs. After being rescued by a friar and taken to St Marks, Robin learns his mind is a very powerful thing
a. Area for comment: This book carries many themes but one that stands out is perseverance.
b. As a young boy being groomed to become a brave knight, losing his the use of his legs at an early age is hard to comprehend. To make things wors
Jul 21, 2016 Lindsay added it
Shelves: childrens
I was poking around in the children's section of the library looking for some visual references and found this older-kid book. (Younger than Young Adult age lit.) It was really well written and set in the 14th century....Always a temptation for me. Nice afternoon read.

Lately, I'm looking at children's books differently ;-)
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Jul 24, 2009 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it really liked it
Robin, the son of a knight, is all set to set off for the home of a noble lord where he is to begin training as a page. Then tragedy strikes. Robin is beset with an illness that leaves him unable to walk. His servants come down with the plague and he is left alone. Just in time he is rescued by a monk who carries him to safety at a monastery, a monk who helps him find the door in the wall Robin needs to leave his castle home and the doors in the wall Robin needs to find in order to make his life ...more
Kat!e Larson
Feb 15, 2015 Kat!e Larson rated it it was amazing
Amazingly, this book didn't feel preachy. It is a very moral book, I won't deny, but because the events came about naturally it never felt didactic. It just felt like everyone in the story was trying to do the best they could, and as they encouraged each other they encouraged me, too. In a longer book I might have found it annoying, but this book is the perfect length for a story of its kind.

Full Review:
Christina Baehr
Sep 04, 2015 Christina Baehr rated it really liked it
This is the fourth (I think) children's novel I've read by MdeA this year. This time, I admired the way she mimicked the cadence and flavour of the speech of Chaucer's day, in a way that's easily understandable. The boy-protagonist is devastated that an illness has left him without the use of his legs. How can he possibly make his knight-father proud of him?

This story had a strong message of personal stewardship: be faithful with what you've been given, no matter how paltry your lot may seem, a
Oct 27, 2013 Johana rated it really liked it
The Door in the Wall is a short, sweet tale about a boy named Robin from the Middle Ages as he learns to accept his crippled state and become a hero against the odds. His wise mentors and insolent friends, modest adventures and meaningful life lessons all add to the charm of his story. This fast-paced little book includes key morals about opportunity, wisdom, acceptance, and patience. One small attribute of this book that I was not particularly fond of the was the old english language. It made t ...more
Kristine Hansen
Aug 31, 2015 Kristine Hansen rated it it was amazing
Whew, the language in this book makes for some serious stumbling when reading aloud as part of schoolwork! I loved the richness and detail of the time. I love the courage of Robin. This is the kind of adventure book I loved so much as a child - the kind of thing where there's always something going on, where you can really sympathize with the hero, where bravery rules the day, and by the end we can close the book with a kind of happy contentment feeling like the adventure might be over, but it's ...more
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There is an extensive collection of her works (both literary and artistic), letters, etc. at the Marguerite De Angeli Library, in Lapeer, Michigan.
More about Marguerite de Angeli...

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“A fine and beautiful life lies before thee, because thou hast a lively mind and a good wit. Thine arms are very strong and sturdy. Swimming hath helped to make them so, but only because thou hast had the will to do it. Fret not, my son. None of us is perfect. It is better to have crooked legs than a crooked spirit. We can only do the best we can with what we have. That, after all, is the measure of success: what we do with what we have.” 12 likes
“It is better to have crooked legs than a crooked spirit.” 8 likes
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