Title: The Door in the Wall
Author: Marguerite de Angeli
Major Themes: England, Knights, Castles, Handicaps
Synopsis: After being paralyzed by a sickness, Robin learns that there are more ways to serve the king than being a knight like his father.
Most of the books I’ve seen by Marguerite de Angeli are beautiful picture books, about a child at some time or place in American history. I really love them, but the longer books I’ve read by her are lovely, as well. I’ve read The Door in the Wall several times now, and love it each time.
The main character, Robin, as the son of a nobleman, expects to become a knight one day. However, his life changes abruptly when he falls sick and is paralyzed. He quickly finds himself in dire straits when all his servants run away, fearing a plague, after his father leaves for the Scottish wars and his mother to attend the Queen. Were it not for the monk who rescues him and nurses him back to health (except for his legs), Robin would have died. Brother Luke makes him crutches so he can get around and teaches him how to carve. He also tells him that when it seems that he has run up against a wall, God always makes a door in that wall for him to go through. He must find what the door is for his life.
Brother Luke and a minstrel, John-go-in-the-wynd, take Robin to a distant castle where Robin was to have been taken, before he got sick. When the Welsh besiege the castle, is there anything Robin can do to save the people inside? He discovers there is more than one way to serve his king!
Not only is The Door in the Wall a delightful story of the Middle Ages, it is also an encouraging story for children who have difficulties in life. This is good literature. I understand why it was given the Newberry Award!
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12, 10 – 12