Spoiler-Free Review: The Willoughbys

“The Willoughby parents frequently forgot that they had children and became quite irritable when they were reminded of it.”

Author: Lois Lowry

In an endeavor to be respectful to the lovely Mrs. Willoughby, I have taken great pains to avoid using words she would find offensive, and so have endeavored to remove any adjectives from my review. Should my humble efforts fail and a most wicked adjective were to sneak into this review, I trust you will forgive me, Mrs. Willoughby.

The Willoughby children would be model orphaned protagonists of any children’s book. Allas! They are not orphans. The Willoughby parents are very much alive! Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby have always felt a kinship to the woodcutter and his wife wanting to send Hazel and Gretel away, but boarding school is so expensive! Perhaps they could move away without the children?

When Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby decide to take a long vacation from their children, the non-orphans are left in the care of a very understanding nanny. As their parent’s postcards keep describing one narrow escape after another, the Willoughby non-orphans hope to soon be the Willoughby orphans, and have proper old-fashioned adventures like the orphans in storybooks.

This was a very enjoyable book. It has that Series of Unfortunate Events grim happenings, while staying in a light, whimsical tone. That’s hard to pull off, but it does it well. I recommend this book to the same miserable youngsters who enjoyed the misadventures of the Baudelaire orphans.

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