Thursday, October 21, 2010


Why yes, that was a howl. A howl in honor of The Mysterious Howling, the first book in The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series by Maryrose Wood.

I can't quite figure this book out. It's only 160-odd pages and has several cute illustrations, but it also has all kinds of literary references that most children would not know. Is it a children's book? A childrens-esque adult book? Or does it belong somewhere in the middle? (Officially, I see the publishing world officially classifies this as 'children's,' but I don't quite believe them.)

Anyway. You know that little phrase about kids who are so wild, they must've been "raised by wolves?" Well we're all pretty sure that's what happened to the three children known as "the Incorrigibles." Found as three scraggly, beastly children in the woods by the wealthy and newlywed Lord Ashton, the Incorrigibles—now known by the proper names of Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia—are living in the enormous Ashton Place under the guidance of Penelope Lumley. Miss Lumley—or Lumawoooo, as she is affectionately called—just graduated from the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Girls and has taken on her first governess job at the whopping age of fifteen (yes, fifteen!).

My only complaint is....(highlight to read text)

BOO to a 'to be continued' ending! TV shows are allowed to do that because the next episode is only 7 days away, but not in a BOOK when it could be a year until the next one is published. I really hope she's trying to redefine the 'series' template by concluding this story in the next one, while also starting another 'to be continued' mystery...otherwise it just seems lazy!

However, on top of having some awesome illustrations by Jon Klassen, this story is just too cute to not like. It's the 19th century governess story told with a twist and lots of howling thrown in. Penelope is the resourceful, spunky hero stories like this need, and the situations have just the perfect amount of outlandish thrown in. Definitely a book I would've liked as a kid and, because I'm still a kid at heart, also enjoy as a super-old twenty-five year old. (It was just my birthday on Saturday. I'm still a little bitter I've officially reached my 'mid-twenties'.) If I had a kid, I'd make him/her read this. And that's what my future children have to look forward to—mommy forcing books upon them.


1 comment:

Kari said...

It was the cover art that totally got me on this one! That and using the word "incorrigible" in the title of a children's book...that just seemed up my alley.