|image by BAS|
The story circles around Henry York - a young boy raised by very over-protective parents who have just been kidnapped. Henry is on his way to Henry, Kansas to be with his relatives.. That is where everything begins.
Henry notices a spot in his attic bedroom where the plaster seems to be pulling away from the wall, so he picks at it a little and discovers a cupboard with a yellow glow inside. When he gets really close he notices movement and...a postman???
That is where the discovery begins. After several nights of chipping away the plaster covering there are 99 cupboards - each locked up tight...and now what is he supposed to do?
As he is trying to figure it out his cousin Henrietta also finds the cupboards. She isn't quite as hesitant and is drawn to a dark and creepy cupboard way down on the floor level. When Henry isn't looking she decides to check it out a little more carefully and what she unleashes is an ancient and entrapped evil.
It takes Henry, his uncle Frank and his long entrapped father two more books to set evil back in its place
And lets see - what else is in those cupboards?
- a mailbox that delivers letters from an organization of fairies who are not happy with Henry
- Baden Hill - a peaceful island with an ancient tree and a huge stone slab that draws Henry and fills him with peace
- an empty shell of a ballroom haunted by ghosts frozen in time on the night of an ancient betrayal
- an ocean going slave ship slowly rowing across a long lost sea
- a very odd cupboard that seems to bring you back to the place you started.
But, what was this place? Where and when were these places? And who were Henry's guides - who were his real parents? Was she really related to Uncle Frank and Henrietta? And why was Henry drawn to Baden Hill - to the breeze, to the tree, to a skeleton of a huge dog.
The books are about a boy seeking his past while he finds his place in the present. I really like Henry. I liked that he got sick at times of stress, that he loved his adoptive parents even when he knew that just didn't quite feel right. He made friends with Fat Frank the fairy and even tried to save the ever annoying Richard.
But my favorite part his power source - in this alternate world his family drew power from sources of nature and linked in to the power and energy of the natural force. Henry's was a dandelion. This little unnoticed weed was capable of regenerating and conquering the mightiest oak and aspen. Through the dandelion and it's power Henry found his identity and his strength. What a great symbol for our kids who sometimes feel as ignored as a dandelion!