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The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry

The Willoughbys (2008)

by Lois Lowry

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,194906,719 (3.8)77
  1. 20
    The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (jbarry, CurrerBell)
    jbarry: old-timey fun
  2. 20
    James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (avatiakh)
    avatiakh: Included in The Willoughbys bibliography of books with appealing orphans, stingy relatives, winsome children, generous benefactors etc etc
  3. 20
    The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood (_Zoe_)
    _Zoe_: Both books play with the idea of the "old-fashioned" children's story and are a lot of fun.
  4. 20
    Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery (avatiakh)
    avatiakh: Included in The Willoughbys bibliography of books with appealing orphans, stingy relatives, winsome children, generous benefactors etc etc
  5. 00
    The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter (foggidawn)
  6. 00
    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (avatiakh)
    avatiakh: Included in The Willoughbys bibliography of books with appealing orphans, stingy relatives, winsome children, generous benefactors etc etc
  7. 00
    Pure Dead Magic by Debi Gliori (Rubbah)
    Rubbah: gothic fun for children
  8. 00
    A House Called Awful End by Philip Ardagh (Rubbah)
  9. 01
    From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg (jbarry)
    jbarry: clever children abound

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» See also 77 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
We listened to the audio of this on a car trip and it was funny and inventive. The kids liked the story and adult listeners liked the spoofs of literary conventions. ( )
  kaitanya64 | Jan 3, 2017 |
Contemporary Realistic Assignment
  savannahgatesstacy | Nov 29, 2016 |
Bizarre, but fun. I liked the quirky characters, except for Tim, the parents, and the postmistress, whom I disliked. I almost skipped the glossary, which would have been a shame, because it includes gems like these:

AFFABLE means good-natured and friendly. There are whole groups of people who are known for being affable. Cheerleaders, for example. Or Mormon missionaries.

MELANCHOLY means sad. "Come to me, my melancholy baby; cuddle up and don't be blue" is the beginning of a romantic old song. Bad comedians used to tell a joke that went like this: "My girlfriend is very melancholy. She has a body like a melon and a face like a collie." But that has nothing to do with the meaning of the word and I'm sorry I brought it up.

METICULOUS means extremely precise and careful. Surgeons have to be meticulous. Some people think great cooks are meticulous, but they are wrong. Great cooks read a recipe, maybe, but then they ignore the instructions and add extra garlic if they feel like it. Surgeons can't do that.
1 vote mirikayla | Feb 8, 2016 |
Narrated by Arte Johnson (yes, that Arte Johnson!). Mr. Johnson brings a wonderfully avuncular narration to this "old-fashioned" parody of orphan stories. The way he reads it, of course it makes perfect sense that the Willoughby parents hate their own kids and vice versa, and that the kids should naturally take matters into their own hands to protect their interests. Nonsensically sensible and fun; ideal for a family or classroom read-aloud. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
Very funny and witty. Quick read, lovable characters! ( )
  Erika.D | Jan 28, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lois Lowryprimary authorall editionscalculated
Johnson, ArteNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lowry, LoisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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fur meine deutschen Madchen, Nadine und Annika
First words
Once upon a time there was a family named Willoughby: an old-fashioned type of family, with four children.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Four annoying children work hard at becoming orphaned by their odious parents. Eventually, the parents abandon them to a capable nanny, and finally the children find their Happily Ever After.
I didn't look at the copyright date before starting the text, something I usually do. I was surprised to find the book was published so recently - it uses many themes and cliches of "classic" or "old fashioned" children's literature. There was far more snarking and silliness than I'd expected as well - not as much snarking and gloom-&-doom, perhaps, as in the Lemony Snicket books, but certainly enough to evoke a comparison to Roald Dahl here and there. This book definitely plays more to the parody though.
I'd be careful to which class or individuals I'd assign this book. This is a great book for fluent readers and good decoders of sarcasm and silliness. However, I think this could be a disastrous assignment for a less-fluent reader or a reader with more difficulty decoding for meaning, be it etymological or emotional.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618979743, Hardcover)

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 oldfashioned 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:51 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In this tongue-in-cheek take on classic themes in children's literature, the four Willoughby children set about to become "deserving orphans" after their neglectful parents embark on a treacherous around-the-world adventure, leaving them in the care of an odious nanny.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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