Thursday, January 6, 2011

Book Review: The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry

That isn't a book trailer for this book, it's just the music that comes to mind while I'm reading it. It's the Sonata for Cello & Piano that was used in the movie The Royal Tenenbaums! Click on it for the music while you read my review if you'd like!

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry

Imagine, if you would, a small home in the middle of a wayward world where children plotted to rid themselves of their parents and parents rid themselves of their children. Also in this world, imagine that babies are still left on doorsteps of stranger's homes & candymakers can in fact become melancholy and live in squalor. In Lois Lowry's The Willoughbys, such a world exists.

We meet the Willoughby siblings at the very beginning: Tim [the eldest], The Barnaby Twins [They are both named Barnaby and commonly called Barnaby A & B] and the youngest Jane. We meet them as they find a baby on their doorstep and the story moves from there.There are a slew of other memorable characters that I won't ruin for you if you decide to read this book!

As seemingly dark as the subject matter is, the short tale is highly satirical with dark humour:
"Do you like our children?"
"Oh, no," Mrs. Willoughby said..."I never have. Especially that tall one.What is his name again?" 
"Timothy Anthony Malachy Willoughby."
"Yes, him. He's the one I least like. But the others are awful, too. The girl whines incessantly and two days ago she tried to make me adopt a beastly infant."
I enjoyed this book. I liked all of the nods it gave to different types of children's novels from yesteryear [James and the Giant Peach, Pollyanna, maybe even Charlie & The Chocolate Factory] and I just loved how absurd the character's behavoirs were. It actually reminded me of  the movie The Royal Tenenbaums, except for this gave me way more laughs. I find it hard to believe that the same author wrote The Giver! This book could not be any more different!

Although this book is suggested for grades 4-7, there is some adult humor and it is decidedly dark. I wouldn't suggest allowing your kids to read this until you've read it yourself to make sure it's okay. I suggest this book for fans of Youth FictionLemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events & those who like dark humor

**the soundtrack for books is an idea from my friend nina @ Brush Up on Your Reading & the bolded reading suggestions is an idea I got from my friend melissa @ i swim for oceans' reviews!


  1. This wasn't my favorite book, but like you, I enjoyed the references to other classic kids' books. Nice choice of music. =)

  2. Thanks for following! I know! I'm a big music person! Have you checked out my recent reviews? I include my own playlist with them! :) LOL!

  3. I love Lowry's work, so this is definitely on my TBR! Thanks for the review.

  4. When I saw this book on your Library Thursday Hop, I was so curious about it because the cover is so cute! Now I know it's also a great book and I may have to look out for a copy. And thank you for the shoutout! Glad you found a soundtrack for this book, it's really nice.

    Brush Up On Your Reading

  5. This one sounds awesome! I like dark humour because it makes a book more cross-genre, if you know what I mean. Excellent review!

    Also, thanks for the mention at the bottom...very kind of you! :)

  6. This one sounds like a funny read!

  7. I'm so glad you mentioned that this could not be farther from The Giver...I would have dismissed this one when I saw that she wrote it thinking it would be similar.

    It sounds quite funny, albeit in a dark way :)

    Thanks for the follow on my blog.


I appreciate your comments!