Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Books, Books, Books

Ever dream of other worlds? Yeah, me too. Ever since Lucy stepped through that wardrobe, I’ve thought about them. (let me just say, that’s been close to 30 years now) Recently, my son and I finished 100 Cupboards by N. D. Wilson. The story begins with young Henry York traveling to Kansas, to a little town also called Henry, to stay with relatives because his parents have gone missing.

Henry’s parents are very overprotective….car seats, helmets, the whole nine yards and then some. Some of the situations have led Henry into some awkward and embarrassing situations at boarding school. More than anything, Henry is hoping to learn to play baseball.

Henry’s Aunt Dottie and Uncle Frank have three daughters (Penny, Henrietta, and Anastasia), a farm, and a mysterious locked room that was formerly occupied by Grandpa. The bedroom has been locked since he passed away some time ago, so why does Henry see (or think he sees) someone come out, go to the restroom, and back in the middle of the night?

Things are going along fine. Henry is given a tiny room in the attic. He gets along well with his cousins, Aunt Dottie, and especially Uncle Frank. He even gets to play baseball with some local boys. Then one night, the plaster mysteriously cracks in the wall of Henry’s bedroom and he discovers two knobs sticking out. After chipping away the plaster over most of the wall, he discovers 99 cupboard doors of varying size and shape, and made of different materials. Henry doesn’t know it yet, but each cupboard leads to a different place, some nice, others not so nice. He and his cousins will learn much about their family. Interesting things. Things that Henry’s parents, Uncle Frank and Aunt Dottie haven’t told them. One is that Henry’s parents aren’t his parents. This doesn’t come as too big of a surprise to Henry, but where did he come from? Is he from our world, or one of these mysterious other worlds?

Figuring out how the cupboards work, how to get into Grandpa’s room, and what to make of the clues found there are just a part of the adventures in this story. At the end we are left with almost as many unanswered questions as we are with answers. Good thing this is the first book in a series. Don’t you think?

In writing this post, I looked up the author's website, which I have linked through the above picture. I just have to say, that I enjoyed his "unprofessional bio" very much, and think you would too. Also, because of the image at the top of that page, I must continue reading this series. I have to now. (not that I wasn't planning to anyway) That little guy is too cute, and I want to know more about him.

Our next book that we are reading together is called Standard Hero Behavior, by John David Anderson. This book caught my eye as something we would enjoy, and upon reading the inside flap, I was sure. I laughed several times just reading the flap. A good sign. I’ll let you know when we finish this one.

I hope very much that everyone has had a wonderful Thanksgiving (to all here in the U.S. that is). Things have been pretty busy, and we are starting big time into our new Outreach project at work. Never a dull moment, I can tell you that! Time to write, that is the precious commodity. And sleep. Oh, and sanity......nah, forget that one. ; )

I am thinking about my next posting covering some excellent picture books that I have read lately. (several by Neil Gaiman......what can I say? He's kind of brilliant!)


  1. Hello Jennifer! I've been out of the blogging loop for a while, but it's good to see you up and reviewing great books for us. :) I haven't heard of this one. Sounds totally compelling. Several of my students would adore it, I'm sure.

    You mention writing---did you write in the big NaNoWriMo last month? I gave it a try, but didn't even approach 50,000 words. :) Oh, well. I'm glad for the words I did write.

    Love the Neil Gaiman. Looking foreward to a post on his picture books!

  2. Nope, no NaNoWriMo....too busy with the day job. Not enough hours in the day, or something. I did try to write more, I need a better routine. Same time every day, or something. I might have hit 500 words.....

  3. We read 100 Cupboards for or districts "Reader's Rally" and we enjoyed it quite a bit! Nice and creepy.

  4. My son loved 100 CUPBOARDS and loved it. I am going to follow your link to the author and will order the other two books. I'm a Gaiman fan too...but man, is he creepy! A.

  5. I still haven't gotten around to the rest of the series.....so many books, so little time. My biggest interest in immortality is the time to read. Just have to make the best of what time we have, I suppose. : )