Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Willoughbys

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry
In this tongue-in-cheek take on classic themes in children's literature, the four Willoughby children set about to become "deserving orphans" after their neglectful parents embark on a treacherous around-the-world adventure, leaving them in the care of an odious nanny.


Diane Stresing/Cleveland Plain Dealer said...

"The Willoughbys" is a sly and smirking spoof of classic children's literature.
Young fans will like the Lemony Snicket conventions leavened with a more sophisticated wit. Older readers will appreciate the many clever references to mid-19th- and 20th-century classics; and anyone drawn to a narrator with an attitude will delight in the book's main but unnamed voice...
The narrator also builds vocabulary in a chummy, conversational tone. ("I began to describe something despicable, but it was too upsetting, so I stopped. You can come up with your own example.") "The Willoughbys" is Lowry's first full-blown parody, unlikely ever to be assigned as classroom reading. Instead, it belongs to readers who enjoyed but never quite took seriously "Mary Poppins," "Little Women" and "Hansel and Gretel."
And, of course, anyone who has ever considered doing away with their kids, their parents or that odious nanny.

librarycat said...

This was fun to read. I don't know if kids will recognize it as a parody of literature or not, but they will enjoy it anyway. There is a bibliography in the back listing some of the books she used in her "research", as well as a glossary with definitions for all of those big
words found in the story, such as reprehensible and obsequious. Three stars ***.