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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel

There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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    Juliet's Nurse

    Lois Leveen 9781476757445

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1 Beaverton Children's Middle Readers- General

100 Cupboards


100 Cupboards Cover

ISBN13: 9780375838811
ISBN10: 0375838813
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Henry, Kansas, is a hot town. And a cold town. It is a town so still there are times when you can hear a fly trying to get through the window of the locked-up antique store on Main Street. Nobody remembers who owns the antique store, but if you press your face against the glass, like the fly, you'll see that whoever they are, they don't have much beyond a wide variety of wagon wheels. Yes, Henry is a still town. But there have been tornadoes on Main Street. If the wind blows, it's like it won't ever stop. Once it's stopped, there seems to be no hope of getting it started again.

There is a bus station in Henry, but it isn't on Main Street. It's one block north--the town fathers hadn't wanted all the additional traffic. The station lost one- third of its roof to a tornado fifteen years ago. In the same summer, a bottle rocket brought the gift of fire to its restrooms. The damage has never been repaired, but the town council makes sure that the building is painted fresh every other year, and always the color of a swimming pool. There is never graffiti. Vandals would have to drive more than twenty miles to buy the spray paint.

Every once in a long while, a bus creeps into town and eases to a stop beside the mostly roofed, bright aqua station with the charred bathrooms. Henry is always glad to see a bus. Such treats are rare.

On this day, the day our story begins, bus hopes were high. The Willis family was expecting their nephew, and the mister and missus stood on the curb waiting for his arrival.

Mrs. Willis couldn't hold nearly as still as the town. She was brimful of nervous energy and busily stepped on and off the curb as if she were waiting for the bus to take her off to another lifetime of grammar school and jump rope. She had planned to wear her best dress on principle--it was the sort of thing her mother would have done--but she had no idea which of her dresses was best, or how to begin the selection process. It was even possible that she didn't have a dress that was best.

So she had remained in her sweatpants and T-shirt. She had been canning in her kitchen and looked pleasant despite the faded teal of her pants. Her face was steam-ruddied and happy, and her brown hair, which had originally been pulled back into a ponytail, had struggled free. On this day, if you got close enough, as her nephew would when hugged, she smelled very strongly of peaches. She was of medium build in every direction, and she was called Dotty by her friends, Dots by her husband, and Mrs. Willis by everyone else.

People liked Dotty. They said she was interesting. They rarely did the same for her husband. They said Mr. Willis was thin, and they didn't just mean physically thin. They meant thin everywhere and every way. Dotty saw much more than thin, and she liked him. Frank Willis didn't seem to notice much of anything beyond that.

Mrs. Willis stopped her stepping and backed away from the curb. Something was shimmering on the highway. The bus was coming. She nudged Frank and pointed. He didn't seem to notice.

The Henry on the bus was not a town in Kansas. He was simply a twelve-year-old boy on a slow bus from Boston, waiting to meet an aunt and uncle he had not seen since the age of four. He was not looking forward to reuniting with Aunt Dotty and Uncle Frank. Not because he in any way disliked them, but because he had led a life that had taught him not to look forward to anything.

The bus stopped amid a shower of metallic grunts. Henry walked to the front, said goodbye to a talkative old woman, and stepped onto the curb into a lung-taste of diesel. The bus lurched off, the taste faded, and he found that he was being held tight by someone rather soft, though not large, and the smell of diesel had been replaced by peaches. His aunt held him back by the shoulders, her smile faded, and she became suddenly serious.

"We are both so sorry about your parents," she said. She was diligently eye-wrestling him. Henry couldn't quite look away. "But we are very happy you're going to be staying with us. Your cousins are all excited."

Someone patted Henry on the shoulder. He looked up.

"Yep," Uncle Frank said. He was watching the bus march out the other end of town.

"The truck's over here," he added, and gestured with his head.

Uncle Frank carried Henry's duffel bag while Aunt Dotty escorted him to the truck, one arm tightly wrapped around his shoulder. It was an old truck. A few decades earlier, it may have been a Ford. Then it had been donated as a shop-class project to Henry High. Uncle Frank bought it at an end-of-the-year fundraiser. The paint was scum brown, the sort that normally hides at the bottom of a pond, attractive only to leeches and easily pleased frogs. The class had not been able to afford the bigger wheels they had dreamed of, so they had simply lifted the truck body as high as the instructor would allow. The overall effect was one of startling ricketiness. Henry's bag was thrown into the truck bed.

"Hop in," Uncle Frank said, and pointed in the back. "The tailgate doesn't drop, so just stand on the tire there and hoick yourself over. I'll boost you a bit."

Henry stood on the tire and teetered for a moment, trying to get one leg over the edge of the truck bed. Uncle Frank pushed him from behind, and he tumbled in onto his side.

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Home School Book Review, January 15, 2013 (view all comments by Home School Book Review)
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 101 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.
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gerer601, May 20, 2008 (view all comments by gerer601)
I went to the powell's book reading by the author of 100 cupboards on the 12 of may for class a project. I loved the way he explained his book so much i bought two copies!!! I finnished reading it two days later!!! THIS BOOK ROCKS!!!!
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Product Details

Wilson, N. D.
Random House Books for Young Readers
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Action & Adventure - General
Family life
Fantasy & Magic
Children s-Science Fiction and Fantasy
100 Cupboards
Publication Date:
December 2007
Grade Level:
from 3 up to 7
8.30x5.82x1.06 in. .91 lbs.
Age Level:

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Related Subjects

Children's » Action and Adventure » Adventure Stories
Children's » Activities » General
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Young Adult » General

100 Cupboards Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.95 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Random House Books for Young Readers - English 9780375838811 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A highly imaginative tale that successfully balances its hero's inner and outer struggles. Wilson's writing is fantastical, but works with clever sentences and turns of phrase that render it more than just another rote fantasy."
"Review" by , "The intriguing cover art, title, and premise will suck in readers....The story is chilling, but the creepy quotient never exceeds the book's target audience."
"Review" by , "Henry and his family emerge as highly appealing characters whom readers will want to encounter again when this series, for which this offering is essentially an introduction, continues."
"Synopsis" by , After his parents are kidnapped, timid twelve-year-old Henry York leaves his sheltered Boston life and moves to small-town Kansas, where he and his cousin Henrietta discover and explore hidden doors in his attic room that seem to open onto other worlds.
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