A hilarious novel which parodies "old-fashioned" children's books, including the requisite uncaring and self-centered parents, estimable orphans, and a questionable nanny...
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.
THE OLD-FASHIONED FAMILY AND THE BEASTLY BABY
Once upon a time there was a family named
Willoughby: an old-fashioned type of family, with
The eldest was a boy named Timothy; he was twelve. Barnaby and Barnaby were ten-year-old twins. No one could tell them apart, and it was even more confusing because they had the same name; so they were known as Barnaby A and Barnaby B. Most people, including their parents, shortened this to A and B, and many were unaware that the twins even had names.
There was also a girl, a timid, pretty little thing with eyeglasses and bangs. She was the youngest, just six and a half, and her name was Jane.
They lived in a tall, thin house in an ordinary city and they did the kinds of things that children in oldfashioned stories do.They went to school and to the seashore. They had birthday parties. Occasionally they were taken to the circus or the zoo, although they did not care much for either, excepting the elephants. Their father...
Lois Lowry's The Willoughbys is the latest faux antique to hit your
quaint little bookshop's fusty shelves. To make sure the reader gets the joke,
Lowry's blast from the past includes pointedly charming retro pen and ink
illustrations; wavy old-fashioned fonts, and alliterative, adverb-laden diction
("A Novel Nefariously Written & Ignominiously Illustrated by the Author") ...
To be truly delectable, The Willoughbys must work for children who haven't read
Toby Tyler, Or, Ten Weeks with the Circus; Ragged Dick; Pollyanna; Heidi; or
The Bobbsey Twins and Baby May. It does. Despite Lowry's satiric
distancing and its jokes and puns, when the Willoughbys, homeless and hungry in
more ways than one, finally discover that they're valuable, worthy of
nourishment, and capable of bringing joy to grown-ups, we applaud.
(Reviewed by Jo Perry).
Full Review (585 words).
In The Willoughbys, the highest honor is to have a candy bar named after you, which
leads us to ....
Candy Bars, Fascinating Facts
Chocolate as a drink was a favorite of Montezuma, Emperor of the Aztecs. Hernando Cortez brought the drink back to Spain in 1529. It remained a favorite of the Spanish royalty for many years before being consumed widely throughout Europe.
It was not until three centuries later in England that chocolate was first used as a non-liquid confection. The inventor of 'chocolate for eating' is unknown, but in 1847, Joseph Fry & Son -- under the leadership of the original Joseph Fry's great-grandson -- discovered a way to mix some of the melted cacao butter back into defatted, or "Dutched," ...
If you liked The Willoughbys, try these:
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Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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