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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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Excerpt

Nanny and the Willoughbys were out for a walk.

This was something that old-fashioned families did from time to time, to expose themselves to invigorating fresh air. Nanny had donned her blue cape, which was the official uniform for nannies.

“Walk briskly, children,” said Nanny, “and swing your arms.” They did so.

“Skip, if you like,” Nanny said. “Skipping is very healthful.” “What is skipping?” Jane asked.

“Yes, what is skipping?” asked the twins.

“Its like this, dolts,”Tim told them, and he skipped ahead of them to demonstrate.

“No more saying of the word dolt,” Nanny announced.“I dislike it.” “What about dodo?” Jane asked.

“Well, lets allow dodo for now,” Nanny said after thinking it over. “If someone does something really stupid, it is permissible to call that person a dodo.

“And,” she added, looking at Tim, who had returned, “if you think that was skipping, you are a dodo.This is skipping.” She demonstrated, skipping to the corner of the block with her cape flying behind her. She turned and beckoned to the children, and each of them skipped toward her one by one. Nanny gave some further instructions—a little more left foot,Tim; no timidity, go flat out, A; good job, much better than before, B; and a pat on the back for Jane, who stumbled and skinned her knee but was heroically not crying.

Now, having walked for several blocks and skipped for the last one, the children found that they were on a familiar street.They had not been back to this street since the day they had trudged here hauling a wagon containing a basket with a baby in it. Tim nudged Barnaby A and nodded meaningfully toward the mansion that loomed ahead. Both of the twins gave nervous glances but then looked away and concentrated on remarks about the quality of the asphalt in the street and a particularly odd-shaped cloud in the sky. Jane fell silent and had a sad look. She had liked the baby, actually, though when its hair was cropped she had found it homely. From time to time she had missed it and wondered about it.

Nanny skipped ahead, not noticing that a hush had fallen upon the children.

“The windows are repaired,” Barnaby B pointed out in a whisper.

“And the cat has been fed,” his twin noticed. “It was thin before, but now its pudgy.” “Someone has mowed the lawn,”Tim observed.

“Shhhh,” said Jane suddenly. “I hear a giggle.” They stood still, the four of them, and after a moment Nanny returned. She had skipped the entire length of the block, assuming the children were behind her. Now she came back to see why they had stopped. “The important thing in terms of fresh-air intake,” Nanny said to them, “is continuity!

If you stop, you lose your continuity.Why ever are you standing about like dodos? You are breathing stagnant air.”

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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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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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