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The Door by the Staircase

de Katherine Marsh

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8610251,878 (4.03)3
Happy to be adopted at last, twelve-year-old orphan Mary Hayes soon learns a terrifying secret about her new mother, the mysterious Madame Z.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 10 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Thoroughly enjoyable. Some of the magic at the end was problematic, but I didn't care. I love when I'm not sure where a story is going to end up. ( )
  amandabock | Dec 10, 2019 |
My students really liked this one. It was a fun read! ( )
  CSKteach | Jul 20, 2018 |
Mary lives in an orphanage until she is adopted by a Russian woman named Madame Z. Madame Z lives on the outskirts of a town known for the many magicians and fortune tellers who work there. Nearly every business seems to have something to do with magic. She becomes friends with a boy who does a traveling magic show with his father.

Mary likes her new home, but something seems off about Madame Z. Then the stable hand drops a bomb saying that Madame Z is a witch who eats children. When Z and Mary confront one another, Z acknowledges that Mary is different than most kids and she is actually fond of her. So she agrees not to eat Mary. Instead she begins to teach her skills such as weaving and taking care of the fire breathing horse. Then one day the witch calls her dochka, which means daughter.

As things are going well, the nice stable hand turns violent. He's actually a wizard who wants the witch's power. He kills the witch and locks Mary in the house. Mary has to use her brains, which are her magical power, to outwit the wizard.

This story is actually based on a Russian fairytale about a witch called Baba Yaga. It's a good fantasy choice. I love the build-up when you're trying to figure out who everyone is and new magical characters are entering the plot. What I don't like about books like this is that it all piles on at the end. These endings have too much going on in a short span of time with too many characters. The end result is that it ends up feeling like a let-down. But the rest of the book is great. ( )
  valorrmac | May 15, 2018 |
Twelve-year-old Mary Hayes is miserable. She is so miserable that she attempts an escape up the small, sooty stovepipe from the Buffalo Asylum for Young Ladies, where, as an older child, there’s literally no chance of getting adopted, especially when the head mistress dislikes you. So when an old woman with a big nose, Madame Z, shows up to adopt her, she’s sure her luck may be changing. However, even with warm clothes, scrumptious and plentiful food, her own room, and the apparent kindness and generosity of Madame Z, she begins to notice some odd things—like the strange town with its unusual businesses, the extremely large oven, the locked door by the staircase, and some increasingly peculiar things about her new “mother”. Mary discovers that she has a choice between fear and flight, or perhaps what might be an even more difficult choice. Just when parts of this story begin to sound somewhat familiar, there are some surprising twists. I loved this compelling story with its strong, interesting, well-developed characters, and was surprised at how difficult it was to put this book down. Written for tweens, you too will enjoy this funny, heart-warming fantasy.

Sharyn H. / Marathon County Public Library
Find this book in our library catalog.

( )
  mcpl.wausau | Sep 25, 2017 |
A brilliant mix of magic and fairy tale. This links to the Russian tale of Baba Yaga but brings the action in to what appears to be Victorian America. Scary, but absolutely wonderful story about love and family and how it can overcome evil. ( )
  MargaretPemberton | Feb 19, 2017 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 10 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
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Happy to be adopted at last, twelve-year-old orphan Mary Hayes soon learns a terrifying secret about her new mother, the mysterious Madame Z.

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