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I didn't expect this book to be so incredibly funny and sardonically dark at the same time. Parody is an understatement of the way Lois Lowry takes some horrid element of almost every scary children's story and makes it just another thing the Willoughby children have to deal with in their everyday life. They beg their father to read to them. He reads from Hansel and Gretel and the children are sent to bed with the appalling feeling he has just gotten a good idea of how to get rid of them. The children find a travel agency that specializes in trips seemingly designed to kill off their clientele and make sure their parents get the brochure. When their parents take off on vacation, they put the house on sale and tell the children to hide in the coal bin when prospective buyers appear. Only the odious nanny the parents hires before they leave could possibly make a difference. And she does.
Since this is ostensibly a children's book, it is the right length to be re-listened to regularly, when you need a good laugh, a mental gear-switch, or an uplift of spirit.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Delightful read for grade schoolers... who will expand vocabulary to include a wide variety of despicable words. Nice use of orphans from other fictional works starting with Anne of Green Gables, Heidi and Huck Finn that would provide a topic driven stream of books for a summer of reading. I nearly turned it off when it came to the dictionary of words at the end... glad I didn't as it is as fun to read as the book itself. Has Lemony Snicket feel but is a little less dark.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful