The Extraordinary Book of Doors is a pleasure to read. It begins when Chen Connelly, who has just moved to a new town, finds an old book under the park bench. When he examines it, he finds that the key printed on the side comes off, and he can open the doors pictured in the book. Elsewhere, Polly Goggin finds an almost identical book and makes the same discovery. Inside her book is a list of clues to a legacy from Benjamin Franklin. Soon, she and Chen are traveling around the world through the doorways, trying solve the riddles and win the prize. Then they discover that there is a third book and a third person in search of the treasure—and he is determined to have it at all costs.
The primary focus of the book is on discovery. There is the discovery of the books themselves and of Benjamin Franklin’s riddles. Then there is the discovery of the doors and the places that the children visit. More important, however, is the discoveries the children make about themselves and each other. Chen discovers he can have adventures, Polly learns about her family, both find friendship and magic in the doorways.
Although there is a danger present in the form of the rival treasure hunter, a ruthless man determined to have Franklin’s legacy no matter what, the adventure is largely non-violent, making it good for readers who prefer books without explicit violence—or readers who enjoy such books as a change of pace.
In addition to writing the book, Anne E. G. Nydam created a series of woodcut and woodcut-style images for the doorways the children enter and for the keys found on each book. The images are beautiful in themselves and add to the sense of adventure.
The Extraordinary Book of Doors is a beautiful book. Recommended for people who wonder what is behind doors, who enjoy riddles, and who like tales of new friendships.
Paperback, 280 pages
Published February 2014 by Createspace
ISBN 1496076826 (ISBN13: 9781496076823)
Images from http://nydamprints.com/bookDoors.html