Book Review: The Darkness in Lee’s Closet and the Others Waiting There


The Darkness in Lee’s Closet and the Others Waiting There
By: Roy Schwartz
Reviewed by: Heidi Hauser Green

For Lee, painting with her dad is a special time. Weekend evenings, they stay up late to share stories and paint anything that captures their fancy. It’s a joyous time, full of laughter. But when Lee’s dad dies suddenly of a heart attack, and the family moves across the country for her mom’s new job, the girl leaves her paints behind. Uncomfortable in her new space (and, readers will note, her new life), Lee takes to sleeping in her closet. Initially, she finds the dark space comforting. Then, she finds it intriguing. Like other storybook children who have entered tucked-away spaces, Lee soon finds a passageway to another space, where she meets an assembly of ghostly-yet-lively companions who give her hope she may be able to bring her dad back from the dead. She can’t, of course, but they are happy to keep her company on her quest, a journey through life, love, family, friendship, and heart. Although the subject matter is sometimes serious and quite poignant, there are laughs to be had in this fantastical story. Elements of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and The Secret Garden combine with a fun ensemble cast akin to The Wizard of Oz or Alice Through the Looking Glass. A good choice for independent readers, this could also be a slightly spooky and thoroughly satisfying selection for a family read-aloud.

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