Tea is best served with droll mystery. At least, that’s what’s bountifully dished out in Maryrose Wood’s unapologetically Anglophile series opener that follows a well-established age-old tale: girl becomes governess, governess is employed at sprawling estate for three certifiably wild children, governess unearths multiple mysteries on premises. “I don’t receive many—or to be precise, any—books for middle-grade readers that combine a riff on Jane Eyre and feral children,” says Donna Bray, VP and co-publisher of Balzer + Bray. “I was powerless to resist.” Wood admits “there’s no greater satisfaction as an author than to write something so close to my own admittedly quirky heart, and to discover that readers find it engaging as well.” The book is a bona fide buffet of everything delightfully British: creaky carriages, dusty antiques, tea cakes, silken gowns, fanciful parties and…children raised by wolves. Yes, wolves. Illustrator Jon Klassen believes the book is magnetic because “it’s refreshing, tonally…in that it’s very kindhearted.” Perhaps most kindhearted for eager readers is Bray’s reaction to Wood’s mélange of hilarity and heart: “I signed four books right away,” says the publisher. “Wait till you read The Hidden Gallery.”
Kirkus found quite a few novels with great girl characters to include among our Best Children's Books of 2010. See them all here.
The Harry Potter series may be finished, but that doesn't mean there is no great fantasy and science fiction for kids. Click here for all the titles that made our 2010 Best list.
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling
Maryrose Wood; illustrated by Jon Klassen
Balzer + Bray/Harper / February / 9780061791055 / $15.99 / ages 10-14