"Shouldn't we be orphans?" one of the Willoughby children suggests one day. The four are, after all, part of an old-fashioned kind of family, and their parents–well, their parents are not all that one would hope for. Recalling literary heroes and heroines such as Anne of Green Gables, Pollyanna, and James with his giant peach, the Willoughbys concoct a diabolical plot to turn themselves into worthy and winsome orphans. Little do they know that Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby have already begun to formulate their own thoroughly despicable plan inspired by another favorite bedtime story: the tale of Hansel and Gretel...
Villains, benefactors, no-nonsense nannies, abandoned infants, long-lost heirs, and late-life romance all make their appearance along with the irrepressible Willoughbys as the Newbery Award-winning author Lois Lowry pays playful homage to classic works of literature in this hilarious and decidedly "old-fashioned" parody.
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by Lois Lowry
by Erin Lowry
by Carl Hiaasen
by Lois Duncan
by Lois Battle
"The four Willoughby children can't stand their parents, and the feeling is mutual. When their parents set off on a dangerous world tour, leaving their children with a nanny and putting the house on the market, the children hope they'll wind up orphans. Is a happy ending possible? Artfully, Lowry plays on gothic traditions of old. Arte Johnson nurses the irony in the story and pounces on its wordplay. He highlights the cruelty of older, controlling brother Tim; the meekness of youngest sister Jane; and the cool, comforting tones of Nanny. Throughout he walks the delicate balance of humor and saccharine tones the author intends. This delightful story pulls in children and their parents for a great family listen. S.W. (c) AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine"
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