Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Little Darlings

Little Darlings

For ages 9 to 12
Penguin, 2005   ISBN: 978-1595140661

Daisy, Cassian, and Primrose Darling are extremely bad children. Indeed they have managed to work their way through numerous nannies, many of whom have had to be carried out of the Darling home on a stretcher. And why do they need a nanny to take care of them? Quite simply because Secretary Mummy Darling and Daddy Darling can’t be bothered with the children and are far more interested in going out and living their own lives.

Once again the Darling grownups are going out for the evening and since the children have just electrocuted their newest nanny, Daddy Darling is having to hire any nanny that he can find. This time the children end up with a nanny quite like any other. For one thing this nanny is kind to them and orders in wonderful take-away food for their dinner. Later the nanny fills up some sacks with the household silver and drives off. What he – for the nanny is in fact a man - doesn’t know until it is too late is that the children are hidden inside his car.

The children soon find themselves living on the Kleptomaniac, a ship full of kind-hearted petty criminals who masquerade as nannies and then run off with their employer’s valuables. The criminals are led by a lovely and charming woman captain whom the children cannot help liking. Soon Daisy is helping the criminals behave more like real nannies, Primrose is cooking up a storm in the kitchens, and Cassian is happily getting filthy by working on the ship’s engines.

The children soon discover that something besides robbery is afoot. It seems to have something to do with the remains of a very old teddy bear, an uncooperative chief engineer, and a rival gang of criminals. Will the children be able to untangle the threads of this most peculiar mystery and at the same time help their new friends find the life of peace and tranquility that they are looking for.

In this hilarious, often farcical story, Sam Llewellyn has created a set of characters who are hard to resist. Readers will be delighted to see how this highly resourceful trio of children take their futures into their own hands and find themselves a new family when their old one proves to be unsatisfactory.