Title: The Door in the Wall
Author: Marguerite DeAngeli
Published: Yearling 1990 (orig. 1949)
My Rating: 3 stars
Perhaps the pickings were slim in 1950, or perhaps the Newbery's were simply in a period of highly valuing the simple, moralistic type of book, but The Door in the Wall was slightly disappointing to me. I loved the choices from the late '40s, and again those from the late '50s, but some of these guys in between leave me frustrated. (Ginger Pye in 1952, and The Light at Tern Rock, 1952 Honor, felt similarly moralistic and boring to me, although all the honor choices in 1953 were fabulous: Charlotte's Web, Moccasin Trail, The Bears on Hemlock Mountain, Red Sails to Capri.)
The Door in the Wall is not without value, my 11 year old son quite enjoyed the historical aspect of it, but when compared to other Newbery winners that deal with the Middle Ages (Adam of the Road, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!) this one falls short. The medieval dialect is surprisingly readable, (though some of the vocabulary is a bit difficult to understand,) and the way of life is vivid. Although it remains rather boring during the first half, the pace does pick up toward the end, and is overall quick to read.
If the moralistic aspect doesn't bother you, then definitely give this one a shot. Otherwise, read Adam of the Road and Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! instead.