Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: Marguerite de Angeli
Illustrator: Marguerite de Angeli
Publisher: Barnes & Noble, Inc. and Doubleday
The Door in the Wall, by Marguerite de Angeli won the Newbery Medal in 1950. The story follows the life of Robin, the son of a knight. With both his parents away, Robin was supposed to begin training to be a knight; however, some unknown sickness has left him unable to walk. At the height of the plague, he is taken by Brother Luke to the monastery, where he is cared for and taught many skills. Once his father receives word of his illness, he is sent to live with his godfather, another knight, to be a squire to the best of his ability. Robin learns many skills and is able to save the castle from a siege. At Christmas, with the war over, he is knighted for his service and his parents rejoice at his talents, despite his disability.
This novel is unsurprisingly a Newberry award winner as the writing and lifestyle is true to that of the time of the story, even including "thees" and "thous." Through the character Robin, Marguerite de Angeli teaches children about not giving up. "The door in the wall" is a phrase used often by Brother Luke to show Robin that there is always a way out into something new, referencing the common architecture of the period of back walls surrounding yards that have a door out. The novel has a highly religious overtone, usually stressed by Brother Luke. The story is well written, but is not suggested for reluctant readers as it repeatedly uses Old English and lacks action.