If you’ve ever wished to be part of an ‘old fashioned story’ then this is the book for you. Lois Lowry has done it again, though this book has a distinctly different flavor than her other books. You can definitely taste the influence of such authors as Roald Dahl or L.M. Montgomery. The book has a certain twisted nature but leaves you content that everything works out in the end. It is a quick read and easily finished in an afternoon.
In the book, Lowry pokes fun at some of English Literature’s most famous ‘worthy and winsome orphans’ while honoring them at the same time. Tired being neglected by their horrible parents, the four Willoughby Children concoct a plan to become orphans themselves. Meanwhile, Inspired by the tale of Hansel and Gretel, their parents are trying just as hard to get rid of them. Like most old fashioned stories, this one also includes a very capable nanny, and an extremely wealthy benefactor. Don’t let the stereotypes fool you though, this old fashioned story is brand new.
One of the best things about the book is the way Lowry plays with you as the reader. She almost smothers the story with wonderfully descriptive adjectives, and then ironically the mother in the story dislikes a book because of its adjectives. There are many blatant hints and forshadowings in the beginning of what is to happen further along in the story, and there are some that might take you a while to realize. It is a very cat and mousish game and I loved every part of it.
This is a book that both children and adults can enjoy. I highly recommend it to anyone out there looking for a quick read. Also, if you would like more information about the author check out LoisLowry.com