Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Willoughbys

The Willoughbys

Lois Lowry
For ages 8 to 10
Random House, 2010   ISBN: 978-0385737760

Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby have four children, and they don’t really like them. They do their best to ignore Tim, Barnaby A, Barnaby B, and Jane as much as possible. Not surprisingly, the children are not too fond of their parents either. Why should they be. Their parents make it very clear that they think their offspring are a nuisance.

One day, after the children find a baby in a basket on the front step, Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby decide that the time has come to get rid of the children. After they leave the baby on the doorstep of another house, the children decide that they should “do away” with their parents. After all, they are “like children in an old-fashioned book,” and everyone knows that children in such books should be “Worthy and deserving orphans.” Perhaps if they are orphans, their situation in life will improve.

Tim then comes up with a “despicable plot” to get of his parents. He goes to the Reprehensible Travel Agency, where he procures some brochures. One of these finds its way into Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby’s hands, and they set about planning a vacation. All of the places they are going to are dangerous, and Tim and his siblings have high hopes that their parents will come to grief at some point, thus making them orphans.

Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby hire a nanny for their children and depart. Nanny turns out to be a very fair-minded and sensible woman who also happens to be an excellent cook. Nanny and the children are getting along very nicely when they discover that Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby have put the house on the market. They are going to be homeless! Something must be done before their find themselves out on the street.

Children are sure to enjoy this deliciously funny book. Packed with wonderful sounding words and colorful characters, the story is entertaining and full of curious happenings that will keep readers guessing.