Influenced in her childhood by a mother who insisted on surrounding her with books instead of roller skates and jump ropes, Lois Lowry grew up lacking fresh air and exercise but with a keen understanding of plot, character, and setting. Every morning she opened the front door hoping to find an orphaned infant in a wicker basket. Alas, her hopes were always dashed and her dreams thwarted. She compensates by writing books. Today she is a wizened, reclusive old woman who sits hunched over her desk thinking obsessively about the placement of commas.
Yes, indeed. The book was screaming personality. And it had to be next on the list of read-alouds.
Playing (and I do mean playing) off old-fashioned and well-known children's books, Lowry has created an unexpected masterpiece of humor. Witty, sarcastic, and downright irreverent, The Willoughbys delivers: an abandoned infant, villainous parents, adventure, orphans, tragedy, rich benefactors, and a nanny to boot. Do not read this book if you are in ill humor and ill-prepared to take a joke.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Levi and I love words. The cover of this book reads, 'A Novel: Nefariously Written & Ignominiously Illustrated by the Author.' Promising, yes? The book is complete with a glossary. Not just any glossary.
CONTEMPLATING means thinking about something very calmly and seriously. Sometimes you will hear the phrase 'contemplating your navel,' which of course means thinking very seriously about your bellybutton, and makes no sense at all, because what dolt would do that? There is a whole order of nuns, incidentally, called contemplative nuns. They spend all their time thinking very calmly and seriously, but not about their navels. Maybe nuns don't even have navels. There is no way to know.
You will have to read the book to find out the definitions of bilious, auspicious, winsome, surreptitious, obfuscate, and expostulation among others.
Do not miss this star of a book!