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100 Cupboards

Last updated Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Author: N.D. Wilson
Illustrator: N.D. Wilson
Date of Publication: 2008
ISBN: 9780375838811
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Oct. 2010

Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Henry York is going to sleep one night when he hears a bump on the attic wall above his head. It's an unfamiliar house Henry is staying with his aunt, uncle, and three cousins so he tries to ignore it. But the next night he wakes up with bits of plaster in his hair. Two knobs have broken through the wall, and one of them is slowly turning... .Henry scrapes the plaster off the wall and discovers doors ninety-nine cupboards of all different sizes and shapes. Through one he can hear the sound of falling rain. Through another he sees a glowing room with a man strolling back and forth! Henry and his cousin Henrietta soon understand that these are not just cupboards. They are, in fact, portals to other worlds.100 Cupboards is the first book of a new fantasy adventure, written in the best world-hopping tradition and reinvented in N. D. Wilson's own inimitable style.

Note to readers:
•  The story is about a boy named Henry who moves to Henry, Kansas because his parents have been kidnapped while traveling. He moves to his aunt and uncle's house and stays in the attic. Two years ago, his grandfather who had also lived in the house died. Grandfather's room has been locked since and no one has been able to enter the room. Henry has three female cousins who also live in the house with him. Start with Chapter 2. When finished, skip ahead to page 35 and make sure you tell the children that you are skipping. We begin with Henry in bed again ... this is where his adventure begins ...

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What is a cupboard? (look at the front and back cover for examples of different cupboards)
•  What do you usually find in a cupboard?
•  Do you know other stories that have secret doors or entrances? (Alice in Wonderland, Coraline, Narnia -- the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Harry Potter)

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Where is Kansas? Where is Boston? (show them on the map or globe in the classroom)
•  Have you had trouble sleeping or heard noises in the night? What do you think you heard?
•  Is Henry imagining the noises or the man?
•  If you found a secret world, what would it look like?

Craft ideas:
•  Make 4 cupboards with 4 imaginery worlds behind. Take 2 pieces of paper and fold both in half, and then in half again, so the paper has 4 squares. Take one of the papers and cut it along the folded edges so you have 4 "doors." On the other paper, draw and color your imaginary worlds/places. When you are done, attach the doors with tape, glue or stapler to the other paper.
•  Draw 100 cupboards (or as many as will fit on a piece of paper). Make sure each cupboard looks differently. For ideas, look at the front and back cover, and the drawing in the front. Don't forget to number your cupboards. Think of a different story or world for each cupboard.

Special activities:
•  You or one of the children must draw a picture of different cupboards. Decorate and number them differently. Have the kids sit in a circle and point to one of the cupboards. Have one of the children describe what is behind the cupboard door.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!