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The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book II: The Hidden Gallery


The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book II: The Hidden Gallery

Ever since the Lady Constance Ashton's big party was wrecked by three young children raised by wolves, Ashton Place has been in shambles. While workers finish the repairs, the household moves to London where Lady Constance plans on being the toast of the town. But as the three children, dubbed Alexander, Beowulf and Cassiopeia Incorrigible, will be traveling to London as well, her best laid plans just may go, as Burns famously put it, astray.

For those who have not read Maryrose Wood's enchanting THE MYSTERIOUS HOWLING, the first book in the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series, the Incorrigibles are three children who had been abandoned in the English countryside, raised perhaps by wild animals and then taken in by Lord Fredrick Aston (much to the chagrin of the above-mentioned Lady Constance). One Miss Penelope Lumley, an orphan herself raised at the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, was summoned to be their governess. A clever, optimistic and plucky teenager, Penelope dove straight in to civilizing and educating the Incorrigibles. THE MYSTERIOUS HOWLING found them howling at the moon, chasing squirrels and learning Latin. Now, in THE HIDDEN GALLERY, the children are learning about navigation, poetry, theater and geometry, though they are still howling at the moon and chasing squirrels.

THE HIDDEN GALLERY is full of Incorrigible mischief and Penelope's keen plans to tame and teach them. But in London, thanks to her former headmistress at the Academy and with the help of a charming young playwright, Penelope is learning more about the mysterious and strange origins of her three charges as well as something about her own clouded past. There are strange signs and clues at every turn in London. Why has Penelope been given an odd and useless guide to the city? Why did the fortune teller insist “the hunt is on?” Who is the creepy judge who keeps showing up? Why do Penelope and the Incorrigibles share the exact color hair? And why does Lord Fredrick need to keep such detailed track of the phases of the moon?

By the end of this exciting adventure, Penelope feels she is close to a breakthrough; maybe she will soon discover the history of the Incorrigibles and the identity of her own absent family, as well as the connection she suspects they have to Lord Fredrick. But Penelope will have to keep searching for answers, all the while continuing to protect and guide the Incorrigibles (and all the while hoping for another visit with that charming young playwright) --- at least until the next installment of the series.

Wood's latest chapter book is quite unique and wholly entertaining. With a tongue-in-cheek nod to classic English novels of manners and chock full of literary tidbits, young readers will be swiftly drawn in to the mystery, challenged by Wood's erudite language and thrilled overall with the escapades of the Incorrigibles and their beloved governess. Jon Klassen hits just the right note with lovely full-page illustrations throughout. A funky Jane Austen meets Mary Poppins tale, THE HIDDEN GALLERY is quirky and unforgettable.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on February 22, 2011

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book II: The Hidden Gallery
(The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #2)
by Maryrose Wood

  • Publication Date: February 22, 2011
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray
  • ISBN-10: 0061791121
  • ISBN-13: 9780061791123