HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: 100 Cupboards
Author: N. D. Wilson
Illustrator: Jeff Nentrup
Publisher: Bluefire, reprint edition published in 2008
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 8 and up
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Wilson, N. D. (Nathan David). 100 Cupboards (published in 2007 by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House Inc., New York City, NY). Travel writers Phil and Ursula York of Boston, MA, the parents of timid twelve-year-old Henry, have been kidnapped while riding bicycles in Colombia, so Henry goes to Henry, KS, to live with his uncle and aunt, Frank and Dorothy (Dotty) Willis and his three cousins, Henrietta, Anastasia, and Penelope. He is given a bedroom in the attic and one night, after hearing some thumping and scratching, discovers that there are 100 cupboard doors under the plaster, which he proceeds to remove. Then he and Henrietta explore the doors which seem to open into other worlds, meeting several odd characters along the way like a boy named Richard Leeds, the strange little man Eli FitzFaeren, and the evil witch Nimiane. What will happen to Henry and Henrietta? Will they be able to get back home? And exactly who is Henry anyway?
Author Nathan David Wilson, born in 1978, is the son of Reformed minister Douglas Wilson whose name is well known among homeschool circles as a proponent of classical Christian education. N. D. is a 1999 graduate of New Saint Andrews College, and holds a master’s degree in liberal arts from St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD (2001). He served as a part-time Lecturer at New Saint Andrews from 2001-2004, was promoted to Fellow of Literature in the fall of 2004, and still teaches as a professor of classical rhetoric part-time. Formerly he served as the managing editor for Credenda/Agenda magazine. His first children’s novel was Leepike Ridge, an adventure story. 101 Cupboards is the opening book of the Henry York fantasy trilogy, followed by Dandelion Fire and The Chestnut King. Wilson has now begun a new series, “The Ashtown Burials,” which will be comprised of five novels beginning with The Dragon’s Tooth and The Drowned Vault.
Based on reviews, I was really looking forward to reading 100 Cupboards. Was I disappointed? No. Was I overwhelmed? Not necessarily. It was adequate, all right, okay, pretty good. The plot starts out a little slowly while the characters are introduced and the stage is set, but it builds up to plenty of action and excitement later on. There is little objectionable. I did note a couple of references to drinking beer. Certain creepy, magical elements, such as when Nimiane feeds off people’s blood, might be a little frightening to some children on the younger end of the targeted reading level and those who are a bit sensitive. However, anyone who likes the bizarre and doesn’t mind a bit of scariness should enjoy the book. A few loose ends are left at the close, but this opens the door (pun not originally intended, but it fits) for the sequels. I guess that I would like to read the other two books, but I really don’t feel any mad rush to go out and get them immediately.