Twelve-year-old Henry York has lived a sheltered life. He's never tasted soda or played baseball. He's never really traveled, or been to other places, or had adventures. But now he's on his way to Kansas to stay with his aunt and uncle and three girl cousins. One night he hears thumping and scratching on the other side of his attic bedroom wall. Peeling back the plaster, he finds a set of cupboards. When Henry finally opens one he smells rain, and hears trees rustling—on a summer day in Kansas. Opening another one discloses a room, and a man walking back and forth.
Clearly, he's not in Kansas anymore.
His only clue to the nature of the cupboards is a diary left to him by his grandfather—the collector and explorer of the cupboards. As Henry learns to play baseball, attends barbecues, collects tumbleweed, and befriends his cousins, he also begins to explore the mysterious worlds of the cupboards. But all is not as it seems, as Henry discovers when he opens the wrong cupboard door....
As a story about a boy who finds a magic cupboard,100 Cupboards can't help but be reminiscent of other fantasy classics, and it's full of allusions, from Oz to Arthurian legend. Yet it stands on its own as a clever twist on the classic premise. N.D. Wilson takes aim at our increasingly overprotective society, and encourages taking risks, getting dirty, having fun, and going on adventures.
Mysterious and intriguing enough to capture the attention of even the most reluctant reader, and yet grounded by the presence of a loving family with solid morals, this first book in the 100 Cupboards trilogy is fascinating, sometimes frightening, and ultimately satisfying.
Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here.
Did you find this review helpful?