Book Reviews, Family Read Alouds, Fantasy, Humor, Middle Grades, Mystery
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The Unmapped Sea (Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #5) by Maryrose Wood

Miss Penelope Lumley starts to solve some of the Ashton Place mysteries while on holiday by the sea in this fifth volume of the series.

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The Unmapped Sea (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #5) by Maryrose Wood and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler. Balzer + Bray, 2015. 416 pages.

  • Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 10-12
  • Recommended For: Middle grades, ages 8-12

A new baby will soon join the incorrigible children of Ashton Place as Lady Ashton is finally expecting a child of her own. The entire family retires to the seaside for her health, Simon Harley-Dickinson joins them to help Penelope be a sleuth, and they meet a strange new family with even stranger children. Crazy antics, some Broadway-worthy acting, and danger keep the plot moving quickly. Faithful series readers will rejoice as Penelope begins to put the threads together (finally!) and solve some of the mysteries hinted at in previous volumes. In addition, this volume alludes to the lovely unfolding of Penelope’s relationship with Simon, shows the Incorrigibles maturing into thoughtful and creative young people, and adds one final mystery/plot twist at the very end–a cliffhanger!

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

  • Worldview Rating: 4
  • Artistic Rating: 4

Categories: Middle grades, Fantasy, Mystery

Other Titles in the Series:

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