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The Door in the Wall

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  15,530 ratings  ·  968 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, 120 pages
Published August 10th 1998 by Laurel Leaf Library (first published 1949)
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Jaclyn Middle School age with some knowledge of Middle Ages---monastery and castle life.
Middle School age with some knowledge of Middle Ages---monastery and castle life.
Jaclyn In London and in England along the Welsh border.

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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  15,530 ratings  ·  968 reviews

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Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Straightforward children's fiction about Medieval life, resilience, and finding ways to cope with loss and overcoming fears. The motto of the book is in the title: if you walk along a wall long enough, you will find a door - to a new life.

The young main character must learn to find new doors to open when he has to face the bitter fact that he is unable to use his legs. His future as a knight is in jeopardy. A kind monk helps him to understand that using his mind and learning to read will carry h
Allison Tebo
Nov 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: medieval, own
A lovely story, simply yet eloquently written with a beautiful message.

We all have walls in our lives - but the Lord always provides a door.
Michelle Isenhoff
Aug 10, 2011 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 Roby
Aug 06, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
How... have I never read this before? IT'S ABSOLUTELY DARLING. Also, my edition is gorgeous. (and the illustrations ! !! !!!)

(yeth, I am becoming very cover-judgy, also yeth literally everything I've read this year has been from my library haul so I CAN AFFORD TO BE.)
Apr 10, 2008 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? ...more
Patti Richards
Oct 23, 2008 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
Read it for the first time & let someone borrow it before I finished! That was a mistake! Even though I've heard complaints that "nothing happens" in this little book, I couldn't wait to continue reading it. The prose is lovely, and transported me to medieval England for a spell. Looking forward to reading it again next year when my oldest will have it as an assigned reading. ...more
Mar 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just picked this up to reread for the first time since childhood, and found it didn't live up to my memories (for one thing, I found it quite stilted this time around) but I'm keeping it at four stars for how much I liked it at the time. Back then, I thought the book was lovely and wise. I also thought that pretty much anything with a Medieval setting was inherently good, and even this time around I enjoyed the parts about the monastery, and learning to read, whittle and swim against a backgro ...more
Jul 09, 2015 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
Valerie Kyriosity
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
I needed some heart medicine today, and looked, as I am wont to do, for a children's book to fill the prescription. This was just the thing -- good and true and right. ...more
Sarah Coller
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The kids and I read this very slowly over several months as part of one of our homeschool co-ops group read-alouds. Yes, I'll admit it, I cried at the end and the kids all laughed at me! BUT---I did see one of my boys wiping away some tears too!

Written in 1949, this sweet story tells the tale of Robin, son of nobleman Sir John de Bureford. From Amazon: "Ever since he can remember, has been told what is expected of him as the son of a nobleman. He must learn the ways of knighthood. But Robin's d
Dec 10, 2017 rated it liked it
This book felt so authentically English, that I was surprised to find that the author is American and never lived in Britain. It's a simple tale and much more could have been done with it, but its value lies more in the vocabulary and ambiance, than the plot and characters. Worthy having on the shelf, but not a favorite. Also, some of the covers of certain editions look rather ridiculous, more farcical than anything, so don't let those deceive you into thinking this is anything other than a genu ...more
Aug 16, 2008 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. ...more
Feb 28, 2010 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:

Jul 07, 2015 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.
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, beautifully written story! Worth reading once a year!
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read this one for my Newberry book discussion group. Loved the setting, and the story about a young boy overcoming difficult times including separation from family, war, and a life-changing illness.
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, medieval
This is a story about a Knight's son that knows he must leave his household and be sent to another knight's house to become a page, promoted to squire and lastly a Knight. He become ill with the pest and is taken in a monastery by brother Luke where he befriends friars and learns skills such as swimming, fishing, whittling, reading and writing, astronomy, the ways of the world, and moral teachings.

I really like this book because it teaches many lessons in life. He learnt that it is fulfilling to
Davis Smith
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
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: newbery
Very nice medieval tale of a boy destined to be a page who becomes a cripple and needs to find a new way of living with the help of a friar and a minstrel. Arrived at his Lord's castle, he is given a position and finds ways to become helpful, specially during a siege. ...more
Feb 09, 2016 rated it liked it
I've read this several times and just finished it again for my Challenge A class. I enjoy this sweet book, which encourages those facing difficult situations to look for the "door in the wall" that leads to hidden openings and opportunities we might not see at first. ...more
Sky SF
Dec 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Kids rated this a 5. Ages 8 and 13.
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
Sep 20, 2010 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
An enjoyable chapter book for kids set in medieval England. Young Robin, crippled and alone, is taken under the wing of a friar, where he learns to see possibilities where there appear to be none. The attention he receives help to restore his body, mind, and spirit.

A hopeful story of love, loyalty, and heroism.
Laura (Book Scrounger)
This was a nice story in a Medieval setting. I liked the portrayal of the time period and the story itself -- I guess I'm a bit ambivalent about it overall. The characters were fairly external -- I didn't feel like any of them really opened up to the reader. But still, good historical fiction for middle grade.

Update: This worked well to pair with our history. I think the old-fashioned speech made it harder to understand as a read-aloud -- it might work better if it's assigned as a reader for an
May 10, 2013 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.
Tirzah Eleora
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great little book about a boy who's hopes of becoming a knight are dashed when he loses the use of his legs as a result of illness. He winds up being cared for by a kind and patient monk, Brother Luke, from whom he learns skill and virtue, and ultimately learns that even a crippled boy can have the courage of a knight. ...more
Jan 22, 2015 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. :)
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Marguerite de Angeli was an American writer and illustrator of children's books including the 1950 Newbery Award winning book The Door in the Wall. She wrote and illustrated twenty-eight of her own books, and illustrated more than three dozen books and numerous magazine stories and articles for other authors. ...more

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