Stephanie at Read in a Single Sitting had a lovely review of 100 Cupboards on her blog. So I checked it out from the library and sat down to read this cute little book written for middle school kids. 100 Cupboards, by N.D. Wilson, is about a young boy who goes to live with his aunt and uncle because his parents have gone missing. One night a piece of plaster falls on his head, he discovers that there are 99 cupboards behind the wall next to his bed in the attic. These are no ordinary cupboards, and via knobs and a compass thing Henry discovers the doors lead to alternate universes full of adventure.
Henry’s Uncle Frank is aware of the boy’s finding, and this quiet unassuming man seems also unconcerned. Which is strange until the reader finds out why. But Uncle Frank’s absolutely aplomb in the middle of trying to take out doorways with chainsaws that get stuck in carpet and children wandering out to muddy creeks in the middle of the night with blankets full of drywall dust is quite funny. I loved Uncle Frank, he was my favorite part of the book. I also quite enjoyed Henry and Henrietta’s (Henry’s cousin) adventures with the cupboards. The story line was new and original. Two curious kids and magic cupboards, delightful.
There was a little bit of darkness that haunts the book, which I found amazing. I like a little bit of darkness to stories, and this was done tastefully and was simple enough to not scare kids. It was a little strange and unsettling, but not too much so. The writing gave me pause at first, a sentence or two was a bit weirdly constructed. But I reminded myself it was a genuine kids book, not even up to a young adult novel. So I let some of the sentence structure go. It also helped, that as the book progressed the writing got better and the story more engaging. I wish I had read this series as a kid, but I enjoyed reading 100 Cupboards as an adult just as well. A fun, delightful read.