I picked up Lois Lowry’s The Willoughbys last week, during a stir-of-the-moment bookshop stop.
“Nefariously Written & Ignominiously Illustrated by the Author,” The Willoughbys is a quirky little novel that pokes fun at the old-fashioned orphan/nanny/benevolent tycoon plot.
Tim, Barnaby A and B (twins, an inconvenience during the crucial name providing moment), and Jane, are clever and winsome, old-fashioned children who, unfortunately, happen to have parents. Inconvenienced by this fact, the kids plan to do away with their parents by sending them on a deadly sight-seeing tour. It just so happens that their terrible parents are also trying to do away with them by selling the house and leaving the kids homeless.
Enter the baby left on the doorstep, a no-nonsense but caring nanny, an older gent with a fortune in the confectionery trade, and a Swiss side-plot. The Willoughbys takes every cliché and turns it on its head. Definitely a treat for anyone who likes a good old-fashioned orphan story (with a twist).