September 9, 2011

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Hidden Gallery

by Maryrose Wood
ages: 9+
First sentence: "But the workman swore the repairs to the house would be finished by now!"
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When we last left our stalwart heroine Penelope and her wild charges, they were adjusting to life at the majestic Ashton Place. Unfortunately, that wasn't going to well, and after a disastrous (this book, mush like the first book, makes me want to use grand adjectives) Christmas party, Ashton Place is in much need of repair.

Three months later, those repairs still aren't finished, much to Lady Constance's dismay. So, she (upon the suggestion of our fair Penelope) up and moves the whole household to London for a while. Whereupon, many adventures ensue, including (but not limited to) encountering a prophesying gypsy, going to the zoo, luncheon at a very posh restaurant, attempting to ride a bicycle (or a velocipede, as Penelope seems to call it), and attending the opening night at a West End play. So none of those sound terribly exciting, but with Penelope and the Incorrigibles, what is generally mundane always takes on an air of excitement.

Much like the last book, this one is full of wit and humor in the form of incredibly hilarious asides. (Additionally: inventing new words like "optoomuchism", what happens when one is overly optimistic.) Also like the last book, there are many questions here that are still not being answered, though, almost infuriatingly, there are clues. I feel like I have the puzzle pieces (more of them anyway), and if I could only figure out how they go together, I could see the big picture. (I wonder if this would be as infuriating for kids as it was for me?) It wasn't enough for me to completely lose interest in the book, but I am starting to wonder if it wouldn't be best just to wait out the writing of the series, and then read them all back to back.

That way, at least, I'd have the answers to the puzzle.


Kailana said...

I meant to see if the library had these books. Will go do so now!

Alex said...

This book sounds pretty cute. I'll have to check out the series. I just finished a book by an author that I'm working with that seems like it has the same fantastical sensibility. The book is called (S)Mythology by Jeremy Tarr. It's a modern day fairy tale that is wry and whimsical, and tackles life...death...and the Underworld. The book is super cute and has illustrations by artist Katy Smail, which really bring the main character Sophie to life. Sophie has really fantastical adventures meeting really wild characters that make the story so much fun. If you like this book, I think you would really love it!

You can read the first three chapters and check out the illustrations at The book is new to paperback and is available here:


Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Okay, so if I have a terrible memory and find it best to read series fiction back-to-back-to-back, I'm assuming that I should do so for sure with this series, huh?