This has been bugging me for years. I read the first book of a small series (maybe only two or three books total) a few years back. YA fantasy, that I'm trying to remember correctly.

  • I believe a family moving, father & mother, son & daughter (and friend?), and their uncle comes to help.
  • The uncle is a master carpenter and this book emphasizes the fact that he uses joinery and how important it is.
  • There is a cabinet (more like an end table, I think) that he built.
  • If I remember right, the uncle went missing, maybe?
  • The siblings (and friend?) are nosing around and open the drawer of this end table, and are transported into the drawer. (Separately? At the same time? Can't remember. Interdimensional travel?)
  • Within this world is a maze, everything is wooden. Stairs, halls, libraries, closets.
  • I think they leave and prepare to enter again by packing backpacks full of snacks.
  • This becomes an adventure pretty quick, going through the maze of the world.
  • Happy times, scary times, and they find someone else living in the world.
  • I also believe they find their uncle within this wooden world filled with talks of the joinery used. And there may be a battle of sorts?
  • I know the cover of the book is different shades of blue, most deep. 💙

This has been on my mind for a few years and I haven't come up with anything the many times I've searched for it. I'd like to read the next book, and pass them onto my nephew if I can find and buy them.

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1 Answer 1


Escape From Zobadak by Brad Gallagher

When Uncle Gary mysteriously disappears, all he leaves behind is a mountain of sawdust and a nightstand that his eleven-year-old nephew, Billy, inherits. When Billy is awakened at night by noises from inside the nightstand, he takes a closer look and discovers a hidden panel that opens to an antique maze of wooden corridors.

This review goes into more detail.

Billy (11) and Sophie (9) love it when their Uncle Gary comes to visit. He is quirky and fun and always has little gifts for them. Their mom likes Uncle Gary fine, it's the sawdust from all the furniture he builds that seems to follow him everywhere that she would prefer not to deal with.

Then one day Uncle Gary disappears, leaving behind a mostly empty home and only a lone night stand in the basement. Odd that someone who worked on furniture all the time yet never sold a thing, would not have a home bursting with wood projects. Billy inherits the nightstand but soon learns there is something different about it. At night noises seem to be coming from inside the nightstand. When taking a closer look, Billy finds a hidden panel that opens into a maze of corridors - big enough for Billy, his sister, and their two friends Chris and Maggie to all climb into and explore the massive hallways of drawers and doors. Billy is certain that Uncle Gary is in there somewhere!

Meanwhile, Billy and Sophie's parents are being harassed by some odd-looking men wearing brown suits and toting business cards from Zobadak Wood Company. They are looking for Gary Frye (Uncle Gary!) stating that a delivery of special wood was sent to him accidentally and they need it back.

Where is Uncle Gary and what did he do with this strange company called Zobadak? A company that no one has ever heard of? Are all the answers somewhere inside the secrets of the nightstand?

Found with a search for site:goodreads.com magic uncle wooden world

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