Middle school students have reading interests that run the gamut from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Twilight. Sometimes as a parent it is hard to know what is age appropriate for your child. Through this blog, I will try to help parents make informed decisions about what is available in our library. I am hoping that this blog will be a resource for our parents, and that we can all work together to make our students life-long readers!

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Mysterious Howling (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #1)

The Mysterious Howling
by Maryrose Wood
From the publisher:
"Found running wild in the forest of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children: Alexander, age ten or thereabouts, keeps his siblings in line with gentle nips; Cassiopeia, perhaps four or five, has a bark that is (usually) worse than her bite; and Beowulf, age somewhere-in-the-middle, is alarmingly adept at chasing squirrels.

Luckily, Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess. Only fifteen years old and a recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, Penelope embraces the challenge of her new position. Though she is eager to instruct the children in Latin verbs and the proper use of globes, first she must help them overcome their canine tendencies.

But mysteries abound at Ashton Place: Who are these three wild creatures, and how did they come to live in the vast forests of the estate? Why does Old Timothy, the coachman, lurk around every corner? Will Penelope be able to teach the Incorrigibles table manners and socially useful phrases in time for Lady Constance's holiday ball? And what on earth is a schottische?"

The 5th book of this series just came out, and I finally got around to reading the first one.  I really enjoyed it; it is smart, funny, engaging and quirky.  With a lexile level of 1000 and an AR level of 6.8, this is a great book for those middle grade students who need a higher reading level without some of the YA content.  It contains many pearls of wisdom from the inimitable Agatha Swanburne, not to mention our young governess-heroine Penelope.  There are quotes from literature, and even some Latin phrases thrown in for good measure.   With that being said, you might assume this is one of those books that adults love but middle graders don't like.  However, I have several students who love this series.  This would be a good family read-aloud, or a road trip book.  I understand the narrarator is fabulous on the audiobook.  There are a lot of mysteries left unexplained, so be ready to start the next one quickly.  

Areas of concern:
Children appear to be in mortal danger

Suggested Ages:
Publisher's Weekly - Ages 8-12
School Library Journal - Grades 5-8
*Mrs. Duke thinks that older middle grade and upper grade will appreciate and understand the book more than elementary students.  It would be sad to miss a lot of the funny parts because you were too young to understand or catch them.*

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