Wednesday, June 3, 2020

67. The Willoughbys Return

The Willoughbys Return. Lois Lowry. 2020. [September] 176 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: The front page of the New York Times, on a Thursday in June: CONGRESS VOTES OVERWHELMINGLY TO BAN CANDY, CITES DENTAL HEALTH On the same day, on an inside page of a Zurich newspaper: AMERICAN COUPLE, FROZEN IN SWISS MOUNTAINS FOR THREE DECADES, THAW SPONTANEOUSLY, APPEAR UNHARMED These two events, it was later proved, were related. It’s complicated.

Premise/plot: It has been thirty years--give or take--since the events of The Willoughbys. In the first book, two dreadfully selfish parents freeze to death in the Swiss Alps, leaving their four children (Tim, Barnaby 1, Barnaby 2, Jane) orphans in the care of a nanny. It's a comic novel. It may sound completely odd and over-the-top...and it is...but it works. This sequel opens with startling and shocking news. First, ALL CANDY has been banned. This would be bad news to just about every household in America...but especially if your family's business is a candy factory. Tim Willoughby's business--which he inherited--is a candy factory. Second, Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby find themselves unthawed and in a bit of a predicament. They are in a foreign country with soggy money and expired identification (and credit cards). They feel at a complete loss when interacting with the world. (Think Encino Man.) They return to the States...

My thoughts: I really LOVED this one. I don't know how it compares to the first. It is equally delightful perhaps but with a bit more sugary goodness perhaps. I really loved the chapters focused on the Poore family. I definitely got vibes of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 

© 2020 Becky Laney of Young Readers

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