Miss Penelope Lumley and her three young charges are off to London in this humorous, satisfying follow-up to the first in the series.
The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #2) by Maryrose Wood and illustrated by Jon Klassen. Balzer + Bray, 2010. 313 pages.
Miss Penelope Lumley and her three young charges are off to London in this second series installment. Penelope is delighted to see her former teacher and mentor as well as to show the Swanburne Academy off to the Ashton children. This book doesn’t resolve as many mysteries as series fans may wish, but it provides plenty of clues to the children’s mysterious heritage (as well as to Penelope’s own!) and also introduces Simon Harley-Dickinson, a delightful new character. Danger, mystery, and the characteristic droll writing style keep readers’ interest.
About the Series: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series chronicles Penelope’s attempts to civilize Lord and Lady Ashton’s wards while dodging dangerous situations and learning more about their mysterious parentage (and her own). Fans of the Lemony Snicket books will notice a similar tone in this series as droll, understated asides to the reader pepper the storyline and a self consciously elevated style will have readers in giggles. Threads introduced in the first volume are still being resolved in volume 5; this is a series that must be read in order! The value of all life (human and animal) is a subtle theme running through the series, and no one person is less significant than another regardless of his or her idiosyncrasies. These make delightful read alouds, appeal to both boys and girls, and will strike chords with other children who are also learning at home (whether from a governess or their own parents). Much like in many traditional fairy tales, such as Beauty and the Beast, a family curse is involved. Otherwise, the series reads more like British historical fiction with no outright magic, wizards, or dragons making an appearance.
Cautions: Supernatural (a family curse)
Overall Rating: 4
Other Titles in the Series (to date):