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From the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series, volume 2

by Maryrose Wood & illustrated by Jon Klassen

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: Feb. 22nd, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-179112-3
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

The plot thickens but is still far from crystallizing in this madcap sequel to The Mysterious Howling (2010). Transplanted to London while repairs are being made to manorial Ashton Place in the wake of the last episode’s disastrous climax, inexperienced but resourceful governess Penelope Lumley looks forward to shepherding her three young charges—still acquiring a veneer of civilization after having been supposedly raised in the forest by wolves—about the great city. Unsurprisingly, events quickly get out of hand. Except for the occasional self-indulgent aside (listing real but irrelevant 19th-century tourist guides, for instance), the narrative voice continues to develop, thanks to diversions into such niceties as the difference between “optimism” and “optoomuchism” and pterodomania (the study of ferns). When not digressing, the narrator keeps the plot aboil, stirring in vague warnings and (of course) references to a prophecy, characters with ambiguous identities, astonishing apparent coincidences and tasty elements such as a cast of theatrical (but also possibly real) pirates and a strange guidebook that furnishes Penelope with obviously-significant Clues to her own obscure past as well as that of the children’s. Great fun, and it wouldn’t be optoomuchstic to expect more to come. Includes frequent full-page line drawings, not seen. (Melodrama. 10-12)