The Door by the Staircase
The Door by the Staircase

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Annotation: 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.
Catalog Number: #141051
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Publisher: Hyperion
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: 273 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-423-13785-X Perma-Bound: 0-605-97727-5
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-423-13785-6 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-97727-3
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2014049851
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
What starts as a classic orphan story soon morphs into a beguiling novelization of the Russian Baba Yaga tale. Mary is clever, resourceful, and brave. When her attempt to escape a cruel orphanage fails, she jumps at the chance to be adopted by Madame Z, a strange old woman with a Slavic accent. Mary's new life is full of strange, savory dishes, and she begins to doubt Madame Z's identity and intentions. Mary befriends a magician's son in a nearby village, and together they discover the true magic that hides behind stage magic and tricksters d a secret that may prove Mary's suspicions about Madame Z right. Engaging characters and a suspenseful plot combine for a thoroughly satisfying read. Evocative imagery adds to the magic: soon after Mary learns Madame Z's true identity, she walks into the kitchen, where magic hands are preparing creepy food: "green cabbage as large as a human head" and "yellow dough, like a huge sheet of skin." This atmospheric book should find a wide audience.
Horn Book
Twelve-year-old orphan Mary can hardly believe her luck when she is adopted by Madame Zolotaya. Then Mary discovers Madame Zolotaya's true identity: Baba Yaga, that old crone from Russian folklore known for eating children. Instead of fearing her, Mary decides to ask Baba Yaga to teach her magic. Plucky Mary is a heroine to root for; figures from Russian folklore pop up throughout.
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 46 When readers meet orphan Mary Hayes, she's clawing her way up a chimney to escape from the Buffalo Asylum for Young Ladies. Miraculously, she succeedsbut only until a freak whirlwind causes the cruel headmistress to spot her out a window. After she's brought back in and confined to a closet, Mary fears that she's doomedthat is, until a mysterious woman named Madame Z appears the next morning, wanting to adopt an orphan. Mary eagerly volunteers, and without much thought, Madame Z agrees. Mary's new home is called Iris, a town with a sideshow flair. She soon meets a magician's son named Jacob, a fast friend and ally. Before long, Mary realizes that amid all of the town's razzle-dazzle, there's also real magic. She's astounded to learn that Madame Z is a witch, complete with a talking cat. But Mary senses that something is off, and, indeed, the groundskeeper reveals that Madame Z is actually Baba Yagaa powerful witch who eats children. Her fierce sense of self-preservation still intact, Mary immediately starts plotting her escape with Jacob. But as the adventure unfolds, it becomes clear that Baba Yaga may not be the enemy after all. Marsh has crafted a sparkling tale full of adventure, magic, and folklore. It's a delightful mash-up of stories and traditions; imagine Little Orphan Annie crossed with Russian folklore, plunked down in the spiritualist community of Lily Dale, NY, with a dash of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away on top. VERDICT Perhaps not a story for reluctant or struggling readersit's relatively demanding in terms of length and vocabularybut for those willing to tackle a rich and layered text, there's much here to enjoy. Amy Holland, Irondequoit Public Library, NY
Word Count: 63,309
Reading Level: 5.1
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.1 / points: 10.0 / quiz: 178917 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.6 / points:16.0 / quiz:Q67906
Lexile: 750L
Guided Reading Level: Y

Twelve-year-old Mary Hayes can't stand her orphanage for another night. But when an attempted escape through the stove pipe doesn't go quite as well as she'd hoped, Mary fears she'll be stuck in the Buffalo Asylum for Young Ladies forever.

The very next day, a mysterious woman named Madame Z appears at the orphanage requesting to adopt Mary, and the matron's all too happy to get the girl off her hands. Soon, Mary is fed a hearty meal, dressed in a clean, new nightgown and shown to a soft bed with blankets piled high. She can hardly believe she isn't dreaming!

But when Mary begins to explore the strange nearby town with the help of her new friend, Jacob, she learns a terrifying secret about Madame Z's true identity. If Mary's not careful, her new home might just turn into a nightmare.

Award-winning author Katherine Marsh draws from Russian fairytales in this darkly funny middle-grade fantasy novel, now available in paperback.

Praise for The Door by the Staircase

* "Well-drawn characters, an original setting, and a satisfying resolution are the ingredients that make this carefully crafted middle-grade adventure a highly rewarding read."
-Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "Marsh has crafted a sparkling tale full of adventure, magic, and folklore."
-School Library Journal, starred review
"[An] engaging, almost cinematic story . . ."
-The Wall Street Journal

Praise for Jepp, Who Defied the Stars

New York Times Notable Children's Books of 2012
The Wall Street Journal Best Children's Books of 2012
"Narrating a young adult novel from a dwarf's perspective is nothing short of inspired. ? Marsh transcends genre to create an engaging narrative complex enough to keep not-so-young adults turning its pages."
-The New York Times Book Review
* "This shining gem is a must-have."
-School Library Journal, starred review
* "?an epic search for love, family, respect, and a destiny of one's own making."
-Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "Incorporating elements of adventure, romance, tragedy, intrigue, and science, the novel conjures a place and time not commonly explored in young adult fiction ?"
-Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review
Praise for The Twilight Prisoner

* "Readers should be drawn in by the complex relationships between Marsh's protagonists and Jack's continuing existential struggles, caught between the worlds of the living and the dead."
-Publishers Weekly, starred review
Praise for The Night Tourist

Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery, 2008

* "This intelligent and self-assured debut will compel readers from its outset, and leave them satisfied as it explores universal themes of love, loss, and closure."
-Publishers Weekly, starred review

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