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1 Beaverton Children's Middle Readers- General

The Willoughbys

by

The Willoughbys Cover

ISBN13: 9780618979745
ISBN10: 0618979743
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Abandoned by their ill-humored parents to the care of an odious nanny, Tim, the twins, Barnaby A and Barnaby B, and their sister, Jane, attempt to fulfill their roles as good old-fashioned children. Following the models set in lauded tales from A Christmas Carol to Mary Poppins, the four Willoughbys hope to attain their proscribed happy ending too, or at least a satisfyingly maudlin one. However, it is an unquestionably ruthless act that sets in motion the transformations that lead to their salvation and to happy endings for not only the four children, but their nanny, an abandoned baby, a candy magnate, and his long-lost son too. Replete with a tongue-in-cheek glossary and bibliography, this hilarious and decidedly old-fashioned parody pays playful homage to classic works of children's literature.

Review:

"Lois Lowry, who casts her noble and enviable shadow wide across the landscape of children's literature, from fantasy to realism, here turns her quick, sly gaze to parody, a word which in this case means 'a short novel mocking the conventions of old-fashioned children's books stuffed with orphans, nannies and long-lost heirs.' These clichs are ripe if familiar targets, but Ms. Lowry knocks off these barrel-dwelling fish with admirable aplomb in The Willoughbys, in which two wicked parents cannot wait to rid themselves of their four precocious children, and vice versa, and vice versa versa, and so on. The nanny adds a spoonful of sugar and a neighboring candy magnate a side order of Dahl, if you follow me, as the book's lightning pace traipses through the hallmarks of classic orphan literature helpfully listed in the bibliography, from the baby on the doorstep to the tardy yet timely arrival of a crucial piece of correspondence. The characters, too, find these tropes familiar — 'What would good old-fashioned people do in this situation?' one asks — as does the omniscient, woolgathery narrator, who begins with 'Once upon a time' and announces an epilogue with 'Oh, what is there to say at the happy conclusion of an old-fashioned story?' This critic even vaguely recognizes the stratagem of a glossary, in which the more toothsome words are defined unreliably and digressively. (He cannot put his finger on it, at least not in public.) Never you mind. The novel does make a few gambits for anachronistic musings ('Oh goodness, do we have to walk them into a dark forest? I don't have the right shoes for that') and even wry commentary ('That is how we billionaires exist,' says the man who is not Willy Wonka. 'We profit on the misfortune of others') but mostly the book plays us for laughs, closer to the Brothers Zucker than the Brothers Grimm, and by my count the hits (mock German dialogue, e.g., 'It makesch me vant to womit') far outnumber the misses (an infant named Baby Ruth, oy). There are those who will find that this novel pales in comparison to Ms. Lowry's more straight-faced efforts, such as The Giver. Such people are invited to take tea with the Bobbsey Twins. Ms. Lowry and I will be across town downing something stronger mixed by Anastasia Krupnik, whom one suspects of sneaking sips of Ms. Lowry's bewitching brew. Tchin-tchin!Lemony Snicket is the author of A Series of Unfortunate Events. " Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"A glossary humorously defines words seldom seen in newfangled books (the new nanny: villainous, lugubrious, or odious?), and an annotated bibliography comments on 13 old-fashioned childrens books referenced within the story. Great fun." Booklist

Review:

"It's Monty Python for children, with a dark side, so parents and teachers beware." Children's Literature

Review:

"Perhaps once finished with this fast, fun read, some students will comb library shelves for really old-fashioned stories, sometimes inaccessible to contemporary, young middle schoolers." VOYA

Review:

"Children will enjoy the story's absurd humor while adults may be put off by its dark elements." School Library Journal

Review:

"Readers who are willing to give themselves up entirely to the sly foolishness will relish this sparklingly smart satire, which treats them with collegial familiarity." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"All is cunningly crocheted into a hilarious doily of drollery." Horn Book Magazine

Review:

"[A] delightful parody of classic works of children's literature." Boston Sunday Globe

About the Author

Lois Lowry is known for her versatility and invention as a writer. She was born in Hawaii and grew up in New York, Pennsylvania, and Japan. After several years at Brown University, she turned to her family and to writing. She is the author of more than thirty books for young adults, including the popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader's Medal, and the Mark Twain Award.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Cathy from Olympia, Washington, May 15, 2008 (view all comments by Cathy from Olympia, Washington)
One gets the feeling that this book will be a bit different when one spies the cover-- Lowry's old-fashioned illustration (for me, reminiscent of Edward Gorey) and the annotation "A Novel Nefariously Written and Ignominiously Illustrated by the Author." Though short, The Willoughbys is chock-full of odd characters, references to classic children's literature, adjectives, a delightfully irreverent glossary of said adjectives, and a bibliography of "books of the past that are heavy on piteous but appealing orphans..." Confession time-- while I thoroughly enjoyed the entire book, the glossary was actually my favorite part. ("Melancholy means sad. ... Bad comedians used to tell a joke that went like this: 'My girlfriend is very melancholy. She has a body like a melon and a face like a collie.' But that has nothing to do with the meaning of the word and I'm sorry I brought it up.") What's not to like? A quirky and delightful parody of children's fiction for kids AND adults, with something for everyone.
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(11 of 19 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780618979745
Author:
Lowry, Lois
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin
Subject:
Family life
Subject:
Brothers and sisters
Subject:
Family - Orphans & Foster Homes
Subject:
Family - Parents
Subject:
Family - Siblings
Subject:
Humorous Stories
Subject:
Orphans
Subject:
Children s humor
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20080431
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 1 to 5
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Black-and-white illustrations
Pages:
176
Dimensions:
7.95x5.71x.73 in. .62 lbs.
Age Level:
06-10

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Related Subjects

Children's » General
Children's » Humor
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Reference » Family and Genealogy

The Willoughbys Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 176 pages Houghton Mifflin Company - English 9780618979745 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Lois Lowry, who casts her noble and enviable shadow wide across the landscape of children's literature, from fantasy to realism, here turns her quick, sly gaze to parody, a word which in this case means 'a short novel mocking the conventions of old-fashioned children's books stuffed with orphans, nannies and long-lost heirs.' These clichs are ripe if familiar targets, but Ms. Lowry knocks off these barrel-dwelling fish with admirable aplomb in The Willoughbys, in which two wicked parents cannot wait to rid themselves of their four precocious children, and vice versa, and vice versa versa, and so on. The nanny adds a spoonful of sugar and a neighboring candy magnate a side order of Dahl, if you follow me, as the book's lightning pace traipses through the hallmarks of classic orphan literature helpfully listed in the bibliography, from the baby on the doorstep to the tardy yet timely arrival of a crucial piece of correspondence. The characters, too, find these tropes familiar — 'What would good old-fashioned people do in this situation?' one asks — as does the omniscient, woolgathery narrator, who begins with 'Once upon a time' and announces an epilogue with 'Oh, what is there to say at the happy conclusion of an old-fashioned story?' This critic even vaguely recognizes the stratagem of a glossary, in which the more toothsome words are defined unreliably and digressively. (He cannot put his finger on it, at least not in public.) Never you mind. The novel does make a few gambits for anachronistic musings ('Oh goodness, do we have to walk them into a dark forest? I don't have the right shoes for that') and even wry commentary ('That is how we billionaires exist,' says the man who is not Willy Wonka. 'We profit on the misfortune of others') but mostly the book plays us for laughs, closer to the Brothers Zucker than the Brothers Grimm, and by my count the hits (mock German dialogue, e.g., 'It makesch me vant to womit') far outnumber the misses (an infant named Baby Ruth, oy). There are those who will find that this novel pales in comparison to Ms. Lowry's more straight-faced efforts, such as The Giver. Such people are invited to take tea with the Bobbsey Twins. Ms. Lowry and I will be across town downing something stronger mixed by Anastasia Krupnik, whom one suspects of sneaking sips of Ms. Lowry's bewitching brew. Tchin-tchin!Lemony Snicket is the author of A Series of Unfortunate Events. " Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "A glossary humorously defines words seldom seen in newfangled books (the new nanny: villainous, lugubrious, or odious?), and an annotated bibliography comments on 13 old-fashioned childrens books referenced within the story. Great fun."
"Review" by , "It's Monty Python for children, with a dark side, so parents and teachers beware."
"Review" by , "Perhaps once finished with this fast, fun read, some students will comb library shelves for really old-fashioned stories, sometimes inaccessible to contemporary, young middle schoolers."
"Review" by , "Children will enjoy the story's absurd humor while adults may be put off by its dark elements."
"Review" by , "Readers who are willing to give themselves up entirely to the sly foolishness will relish this sparklingly smart satire, which treats them with collegial familiarity."
"Review" by , "All is cunningly crocheted into a hilarious doily of drollery."
"Review" by , "[A] delightful parody of classic works of children's literature."
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