When the Swampy Woods home of seven siblings is utterly destroyed, the children move to House Number Seven in Lost Cove—and neighbor Desdemona O’pinion tries her hardest to malign, evict, and separate the children.
Both text and illustrations offer a nod to Roald Dahl’s quirky, juvenile heroes and equally quirky, nasty villains. The distinctive flavor comes both from Lloyd’s witty but succinct word mastery and from her unflagging imagination. Each of the titular children was born on a different day of the week, with a name and a personality or appearance that—arguably—parallels the old nursery rhyme “Monday’s child is fair of face.” Here Monday’s child is the lovely but subversive Mona. Tuesday’s child baby Toot’s “grace” is apparently his ability to communicate with highly specialized farts, while Thea—Thursday’s child—moves slowly toward self-confidence during the generally madcap adventure. The story begins with the children gratefully unscathed after their home suddenly blows up and continues with their move to town, where their combined warmth, cooperation, and ingenuity enable them to charm everyone but evil Desdemona. There are ongoing, mysterious discoveries before it concludes with a temporary reprieve on eviction—but plenty of aperture for the next adventure in the series. The family is white; secondary characters include one blind girl and another who is “allergic to air” as well as neighbors of varied ethnicities. Among other novelties, readers will meet circus spiders and revel in “heartspeak.”
A promising, lighthearted beginning. (Fantasy. 8-12)