The Fantasy of Reading

Having your own fantasy bookshelf.

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The Willoughbys: Hilariously told

Lois Lowry’s short story “The Willoughbys” is, as you might have guessed, about the Willoughbys! There are four old-fashioned children in the family. The eldest was a tall boy named Tim, and since he is the oldest he is in charge of practically everything. ¬†Then there was the two Barnabys, called Barnaby A and Barnaby B. Finally, there was the little girl amidst all her brothers, called Jane, as in all old-fashioned stories. They did what old-fashioned children did, played at the beach, had birthday parties, ¬†went to school in the city. But the problem is, their parents detest them and think they are a waste of space. One day, the children found a baby on the doorstep. Their mother does not approve of “it” and tell them to dispose of the infant. And so the baby is left for a miserable but rich confectioner that lost his wife, known as Captain Melanoff, and though they don’t know it their lives had become closely linked together. When they are abandoned by their parents to the care of an “odious” nanny and had the house sold, they are taken in to the custody of Captain Melanoff, who has found joy in life again because of the baby girl named Ruth. Captain Melanoff also has a long-lost son, stuck in Switzerland. But how will they get their happily ever after?