The Door That Had Never Been Opened Before
“the beauty of the book is in Mrs. Macleod’s original illustrations, which combine dipped pen and ink with cut paper and light . . .”
“The Grunions’ house had MANY doors.
But there was ONE DOOR . . .
THAT HAD NEVER BEEN OPENED BEFORE.”
The Door That Had Never Been Opened Before is the second children’s picture book by Mrs. and Mr. MacLeod, a California-based, author-illustrator, husband-wife duo whose first names remain a mystery on the internet and elsewhere, though Mrs. MacLeod’s MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design and early career as an art director in San Francisco are now well known.
The book is the second in a series that follows the strange adventures of the generationally privileged Grunion children, Sheila and her twin cousins Gerald and Geraldine. The first book in the series, How to Eat a Book, which has been described by the New York Times as a combination of Lewis Carroll, Piet Mondrian, and Shel Silverstein, won the Barnes & Noble Picture Book of the Year in 2023.
Using scribbly Silverstein-like illustrations that are chock full of details and can be easily imitated by young artists, The Door That Has Never Been Opened Before introduces its readers to the Grunion family’s eccentrically antique mansion home. In predictable but nonetheless intriguing fashion, the story follows terribly energetic Geraldine as she opens every door she encounters—except for the one that is protected by her twin brother Gerald and has apparently yet to be opened by anyone. A plant grows through the crack that Geraldine eventually makes in the door and takes over the entire house, until the only place left for the children to go is through the mysterious unopened door, the key to which Gerald has been hiding.
The rhythmic, sometimes rhyming text makes The Door That Has Never Been Opened Before fun to read aloud, and its simple and repetitive words make it suitable for early readers. But the beauty of the book is in Mrs. Macleod’s original illustrations, which combine dipped pen and ink with cut paper and light in a manner that is busy yet uncluttered and is sure to maintain the attention of even those who have difficulty sitting still.
If your children liked the MacLeod’s debut, How to Eat a Book, they are sure to enjoy The Door That Has Never Been Opened Before. And given the MacLeods’ early success, there will be future books in the series to look forward to.