The plot thickens but is still far from crystallizing in this madcap sequel toÃÂ The Mysterious HowlingÃÂ (2010). Transplanted to London while repairs are being made to manorial Ashton Place in the wake of the last episode's disastrous climax, inexperienced but resourceful governess Penelope Lumley looks forward to shepherding her three young charges—still acquiring a veneer of civilization after having been supposedly raised in the forest by wolves—about the great city. Unsurprisingly, events quickly get out of hand. Except for the occasional self-indulgent aside (listing real but irrelevant 19th-century tourist guides, for instance), the narrative voice continues to develop, thanks to diversions into such niceties as the difference between "optimism" and "optoomuchism" and pterodomania (the study of ferns). When not digressing, the narrator keeps the plot aboil, stirring in vague warnings and (of course) references to a prophecy, characters with ambiguous identities, astonishing apparent coincidences and tasty elements such as a cast of theatrical (but also possibly real) pirates and a strange guidebook that furnishes Penelope with obviously-significant Clues to her own obscure past as well as that of the children's. Great fun, and it wouldn't be optoomuchstic to expect more to come. Includes frequent full-page line drawings, not seen.ÃÂ (Melodrama. 10-12)ÃÂCopyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Gr 3-6--The Incorrigibles, three feral children discovered and adopted by the ridiculously rich Lord Ashton, are back in another series of uproarious escapades. While Ashton Place is being repaired after the disastrous Christmas party at the conclusion of The Mysterious Howling (HarperCollins, 2010), Cassiopeia, Beowulf, and Alexander head for London, under the care of their unflappable 15-year-old governess, Miss Penelope Lumley. Mysterious happenings thwart Miss Lumley's plans for a proper and edifying tour of the city, including a fortune-teller who issues a strange warning to the children, a guidebook that leads them to a hidden gallery in the British Museum, and Lord Ashton's twitching behavior during a full moon. There is genuine humor in Penelope's unruffled attempts to educate and tame her charges, and fun in the wordplay and the use of delicious sounding archaic words. The characterization and plotting are true to an over-the-top parody of a Victorian melodrama as one outlandish adventure after another climaxes in a riotous spoof of a Gilbert & Sullivan Operetta gone bad. The narrator occasionally addresses readers directly with asides and explanations on topics such as holiday fatigue and the Heimlich maneuver, which seems oddly discordant in the distinctly Victorian-style narrative. And while a few new twists are introduced here, the fact that so little is resolved will leave readers wishing for just a bit more. Still, the endearing Incorrigibles and their indefatigable governess are engaging characters, and fans of the first book will be happy to go along for the madcap ride.--Caroline Ward, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT[Page 176]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.