The Willoughbys

Author: Lois Lowry
Lexile Level: 790L
Grade Level Equivalent: 3.5
My recommended reading age: 8 and up

What do you do when you find a baby on your doorstep? Move her to another doorstep of course!  With parents so dopey they can't even think of different names for their twins, the Willoughby children are left unattended and definitely unloved.  Owing to the fact that they have such lousy parents, the kids figure they'd be better off as orphans, and when they are left in the care of a rather odd nanny, they hope their dream will come to fruition.  Fate obliges, and the abandoned baby sets in motion a series of events that will improve life for all concerned... well, except maybe those dopey parents!

This is a super funny, non-traditional tale of orphans so far off of our traditional Pollyanna story which just adds to the hilarity of it.  It's like reading a demented version of Mary Poppins and Annie mixed together, with Amelia Bedilia thrown in for good measure.  I laughed at all of the schemes and antics the Willoughby's came up with (both parents and kids), and enjoyed the happy ending, despite the wacky road it took to get there.  I do think that this might not be the best book to give away at the orphanage Christmas party, because it does make light of parents who really don't want their kids, which, while funny to some, could hit home to children in the situation.  Hopefully it is so outrageous that this wouldn't be a problem.  There wasn't anything offensive, just silly.


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