The Door by the Staircase Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-07-09 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 19 user ratings

" 4.5* actually. Darn the lack of half stars! Really liked this one. What a pleasant surprise. " said.

" I freaking love this book. Every page made me want to read more. Perfect for all ages. " said.

" Interesting twist on the fairytale/myth of Babayaga. I liked the journey Mary and Jacob took through the magical creatures and how it helped them on the final part of their quest. " said.

" I wasn't sure about this book at the beginning but by the end I couldn't put it down. Such an interesting mix of Russian folk lore and mystery. " said.

" BSBPL | It's possible that I'm being slightly overgenerous with a five-star rating, but I've long been partial to all stories about the character that Madame Z turns out to be (which is what I'd hoped for when I started the book), and the general moral of the tale was particularly enjoyable for me. Not a lot more I can say without spoilers, definitely glad I picked this one up. " said.

"Mary must make herself a home with Madame Z--and hopefully, not get eaten.

Mary Hayes, a resourceful orphan from the Buffalo Asylum for Young Ladies has come up with an escape plan. She almost makes it too, except that a very strange whirlwind bars the way, causing her to get caught. The next morning, she is resigned to a long and dreadful punishment, when Madame Z shows up and actually adopts her! Takes her away that very day. Mary can hardly believe her luck!

In fact, Madame Z takes very good care of her, feeding her lots of delicious meals and providing her with warm clothing and boots that fit. Even Yulik the cat seems to like her, which Madame Z admits is unusual. Her new home is just outside a small town known for its magic acts, and Mary soon makes a friend--a boy named Jacob. Jacob is the son of one of the magicians, and he not only has very quick hands, he can spot a fake every time.

Mary can't let herself completely settle into her new life, though. She just feels there's something a about Madame Z. Hard to pinpoint. Some of it has to do with the door by the staircase. You see, when Mary stuck her finger in the lock it bit her. Also, the oven in the kitchen is very, very large. In fact, large enough to fit a whole person inside it.

As the strange and unexplainable events pile up, Mary comes to believe more and more in magic---real magic. She also realizes that her very life may be in danger, despite the kindness Madame Z has shown her so far. How will she get out of this one?

* * * * *
In this Baba Yaga tale, Mary proves herself to be every bit the heroine: smart, capable, and loyal. She handles challenges admirably, with her sidekick Jacob.

It was more suspenseful than scary. There were some tense moments, but they didn't last too long. I guess kids might get scared by the several mentions of eating children. It comes up several times; a bad habit that Madame Z has gotten into.

I would recommend this one to ages 10+, though it could go younger if your child has already been exposed to these types of fairy tales. It certainly wasn't any scarier than the first Harry Potter, for instance. I actually think my older 2 (ages 8 and 6) would be fine with it, if I read it out loud to them. They're not familiar with the Baba Yaga stories, but they've definitely heard Hansel and Gretel multiple times.

For more sorta scary middle grade books, head over to my blog:
" said.

" Intriguing and original story, well narrated. The book will charm adults and children alike, is my guess. " said.

" Tremendously clever spin on a Russian folklore character -- Baba Yaga. The ending had me in suspense. " said.

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