Found running wild in the forest of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children: Alexander, age ten or thereabouts, keeps his siblings in line with gentle nips; Cassiopeia, perhaps four or five, has a bark that is (usually) worse than her bite; and Beowulf, age somewhere-in-the-middle, is alarmingly adept at chasing squirrels.
Luckily, Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess. Only fifteen years old and a recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, Penelope embraces the challenge of her new position. Though she is eager to instruct the children in Latin verbs and the proper use of globes, first she must help them overcome their canine tendencies.
But mysteries abound at Ashton Place: Who are these three wild creatures, and how did they come to live in the vast forests of the estate? Why does Old Timothy, the coachman, lurk around every corner? Will Penelope be able to teach the Incorrigibles table manners and socially useful phrases in time for Lady Constance's holiday ball? And what on earth is a schottische?
This novel is terrifically entertaining, so delicious in its personalities, settings, and language that you might not notice at first how nourishing it is - packed with positive thinking and sterling character traits... Girls are likely to appreciate Penelope as a role model, a Victorian Girl Scout leading them on. Boys are likely to enjoy the feral children and the hints of a werewolf plot, still to be unraveled. The book ends with many unanswered questions, and the expected "To Be Continued...," but I'm ready to follow governess Penelope through any number of sequels. (Reviewed by Jennifer G Wilder).
Starred Review. It's the best beginning since [Lemony Snickett's] The Bad Beginning (1999) and will leave readers howling for the next episode. Ages 10-12.
Starred Review. How hearty and delicious...Smartly written with a middle-grade audience in mind, this is both fun and sprinkled with dollops of wisdom (thank you, Agatha Swanburne). How will it all turn out? Appetites whetted.
Starred Review. Though the novel ends a bit abruptly, the pervasive humor and unanswered questions should have readers begging for more.
School Library Journal
[F]or most, this will be the kind of story you read over and over again, just to taste the language and meet the characters again. Just the loveliest little book. One hopes we'll be seeing many more of its kind very soon indeed... Pure pleasure for kids, for adults, for everyone. Treat yourself.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Becky H I loved this book! I received this book as an ARC some time ago and found it delightful. I laughed out loud and yet was moved almost to tears. I am a retired children's librarian and I most heartily recommend this book to all the children and adults who loved Mary... Read More
Rated of 5
by Sue Ahh-roooooo! Driving around Silicon Valley can be an irritating experience. So many cars out there, and it seems other drivers' only objective is to get in front of me. To keep my speed and blood pressure down, I listen to children's audio books while... Read More
Nurses, nannies, governesses, tutors, and companions: a taxonomy
The childcare arrangements of the nineteenth-century British upper crust have spawned a dynasty of classic literary characters. Can you tell your nursemaids from your nannies, your tutors from your governesses?
Nurse was in charge of the nursery regime - the diapers, the baths, and, especially in the case of the wet nurse, the nourishment. Polly Toodle of Dickens's Dombey and Son is a classic wet nurse, standing in place of a mother and passing on a bit of lower-class affection along with her milk. Nursemaids were nurse's underlings and probably got the nastiest jobs.
The word "nanny" is a close synonym of "nurse", and may derive from a babytalk diminutive. Nannies are the snuggly presences in nursery lore, the workhorses of childcare who take children on outings, supervise their play, keep their pinafores tidy, and refine their table manners. They are elevated servants - even Mary Poppins, the most celebrated literary nanny, is decidedly lower-class,...
For generations, the Beaumont family has harbored a magical secret. They each possess a savvy a special supernatural power that strikes when they turn thirteen. Grandpa Bomba moves mountains, her older brothers create hurricanes and spark electricity and now its the eve of Mibs big day.
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Research shows that 90% of Americans value public libraries(Dec 11 2013) According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, about 90% of Americans aged 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an...