Review: The Willoughbys

The WilloughbysThe Willoughbys by Lois Lowry | Website

Publisher/Year: Houghton Mifflin Company | March 31, 2008

Pages: 176

Series: Standalone

Genre: Upper Elementary

Format: Hardback

Source: Own

Amazon | Goodreads

Summary (From Goodreads)

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.

First Off…

I came across this book shortly after reading The Giver and since it was by Lois Lowry, I decided to buy it.  Granted, that was nearly three years ago.  So I needed an easy read after Allegiant and decided it was time to give this one a go.


I loved this book.  It took all the cliches of fairy tales and old children’s stories and made them humorous.   I even found myself wanting to underline in the book, but refrained.  I like my books clean encaseI want to reread them.  All the characters were quirky and distinct, which is amazing for how many characters there are and how short the book is.  It was a super quick read for me (obviously at an upper elementary level) but for the age it was intended I think it would be a little more challenging.  Lowery does a great job putting large words in the book and explaining them for the younger readers.

10 Second Summery:

  1. So snarky in a good way:  So much dry humor in here. I don’t know if kids would pick up on it, but I did, and I loved it.  It was all done tongue in cheek, which made it extra enjoyable.
  2. Good for any age: The story is one that will keep the attention of an elementary student, but all the references to how “old-time” children are supposed to be, or other stories are something adults will snicker at.
  3. Unique characters and fast paced story:  It’s a good balance of character development and story pacing. I didn’t find myself losing track of what was going on or who people were, which always makes a story stand out for me.

Check the Shelf2

So glad I own it in hardback, I would greatly recommend this to all ages.

Leave a Reply