YA Book Council discussion

Official Selections > The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry

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message 1: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
Folks who can't attend the discussion with us, the meeting will be at my place so I'm going to try to post stuff up as soon as we say it--and you guys can respond! So I guess depending on the time--Roxy, it will just be 10 pm for you! then come hang out with us online, or just post on here at your leisure after the meeting.

Meanwhile if you have thoughts on the book, write them down but do not post them here! We'll talk about them at the meeting.

message 2: by Alethea (last edited Oct 28, 2008 10:12PM) (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
LOL. I just finished reading. I'm going to save my comments for the meeting, but in the meantime so we have some material to talk about, I'm going to post up some questions that I'd like you guys to think about. Write your answer down so you remember a few weeks from now! And if you have your own questions, post them here--just don't answer them on the discussion yet, ok?

- - -

1) Big words - There is a glossary of difficult words in the back of the book, hilariously defined by the author. Which is your favorite one? (We'll read it at the meeting). If there is a word here that you can write your own funny definition for, go ahead. If there is some other difficult word you like, and can define in a humorous (and kid-friendly) way, write that down too!

2) Books in this book - There is a bibliography for the works of fiction that the author alludes to in the book. Which books have you read? Which have you not read, but want to read now that you have read The Willoughbys? What other books do these remind you of (hint: look at the tag cloud on the YABC website--click on the word "orphans" and all of our books with orphans will pop up!)

3) Ignominious art - Who is your favorite character and why? I will either ask you to draw the character, or if you don't want to draw, tell me about the character (describe what should go in the picture) and I will draw them for you. You can either email me ( frootjoos@gmail.com ), message me, or tell me at the meeting. You can pick more than one character.

message 3: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
Hi everybody! It's 7 pm :-)

We're getting ready to eat a Nanny-approved breakfast for dinner (waffles, bacon, eggs, and juice!) -- no oatmeal with cinnamon and raisins although I can probably whip some up if someone wants it.

You can start posting if you have already read the book and we will add on as we talk!

I will be posting Roxy's comments as she is sitting here with no laptop.

message 4: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
Roxana never heard of Lois Lowry before now! But she's an English major and a bookstore employee (shame shame) although in her defense she does work in the cafe.

The style of Lowry's writing in Willoughbys reminds her of Lemony Snicket.

message 5: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
I have never read any of Lois Lowry's other books, not even The Giver! I have wanted to but they seem so serious and I have to be in the mood for them. I loved the book and just thought it was too short.

message 6: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
Roxana listened to the audiobook and liked the reader a lot--he sounded appropriately very silly.

message 7: by Jane (new)

Jane (janeg) | 248 comments Mod
I thought Lois Lowry was a man, but I think deep down I've always known she was a woman though still I constantly forget.

message 8: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
Speaking of Barnaby A and B, Roxana thinks it' really funny that they insist that they are different but they aren't really. Rox, you'll have to post your discussion here on the Weasley Twins when you get home to your computer!

message 9: by Jane (new)

Jane (janeg) | 248 comments Mod
The funniest part was when the Nanny related to the kids what their parents said about them. They forgot about Jane.

message 10: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
I really liked how insensitive the parents are and how they don't even pretend to care for their children. Roxy mentions that the mom was knitting a sweater and says the twins are greedy for wanting a second sweater.

message 11: by Nancy (new)

Nancy | 5 comments As usual, I thought the book was okay. I thought it was a light reading. I too liked how the parents didn't care for their kids, but felt the story lack something...je ne sais quoi..

message 12: by Jane (new)

Jane (janeg) | 248 comments Mod
I'm going to have to read the glossary before I take the GRE this Friday.

message 13: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
Alethea loves the glossary and how it defines the word, "glossary". She also likes "villainous" and "contemplating".

message 14: by Nancy (new)

Nancy | 5 comments I don't have the book with me, so I can't tell you which word I like best...sorry

message 15: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
David disliked Tim's despicableness and the parents--what kind of people go off on vacation and wear climbing gear on their heads? Roxy thought the postcards from the parents were hilarious. Jane thinks the story isn't really for kids because it would take an adult's sense of humor to get the jokes about children's literature.

message 16: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
It's ok, you can post it later!

message 17: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
Nancy what did you like about the book? If anything ;-)

message 18: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
We got sidetracked talking about Madagascar 2... and how it kind of sucks.

message 19: by Nancy (new)

Nancy | 5 comments I liked the humor of the book. I thought it was very subtle. Although I do agree with Jane about kids not being able to understand it. I liked that the eldest boy was put in his place by the nanny. I thought he treated his siblings very unfair. I also liked that the book was short and sweet to read. Not too much thinking involoved.

message 20: by Jane (last edited Nov 16, 2008 11:30PM) (new)

Jane (janeg) | 248 comments Mod
We're talking about Arrested Development now and their references -- like the references in the Willoughbys. The difference with Arrested Development is that you actually have to think about the references. I think if you were a kid and not so familiar with the allusions to the books mentioned, you would have to think -- but for us (even though we haven't read most of the books), The Willoughbys is a non-thinking read.

message 21: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
We got sidetracked also talking about the comedy of Arrested Development and how much attention you have to pay to get the real laughs. I mentioned Buster Bluth and how he ends up thinking he's in Mexico when he's really in Sta. Ana--and attempts to speak Spanish by accenting his English. This reminds Roxy of Barnaby Melanoff, Jr. thinking that he was really speaking German: "Neisch day, isn't itzenschlitz?"

message 22: by Jane (new)

Jane (janeg) | 248 comments Mod
I've not read Huck Finn, Anne of Green Gables, Bobbsey Twins, Heidi, Mary Poppins, Pollyanna, Ragged Dick, Secret Garden, Toby Tyler...

I didn't even know that Mary Poppins was a book.

David suggests reading James and the Giant Peach for a selection -- one of the books from the Biblio.

message 23: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
Nancy, you get 20 points. You may move up a step.

message 24: by Jane (last edited Nov 16, 2008 08:43PM) (new)

Jane (janeg) | 248 comments Mod
Where's that Lizette? What a flake... =) She gets 20 pts taken off.

message 25: by Alethea (last edited Nov 16, 2008 08:49PM) (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
Roxy has deducted 20 points each from Alethea, Jane, and David for talking at the same time.

Alethea has not read Mary Poppins, James & the Giant Peach, Pollyanna, Ragged Dick*, or Toby Tyler*. (*Actually never heard of these before, and I deduct 10 points from myself)

message 26: by Jane (new)

Jane (janeg) | 248 comments Mod
Roxy says that a YABC member MUST have had heard of those books!

message 27: by Liz (new)

Liz (jedimindreader) | 4 comments Ok first of all... I am not a flake I was just feeling under the weather. lol. Second I don't think this is Lowry's best work... personally I prefer Number the Stars and The Giver. I agree with Alethea it was too short. Somehow I feel cheated lol literature wise. I did enjoy it however. If you like this book, definitely read The Giver triology its like Brave New World if the Utopia was created by eHarmony.com. If you read the book You'll understand =).

message 28: by Nancy (new)

Nancy | 5 comments I've heard of those books. How have you guys not?! They're classics!

message 29: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
We were discussing the phrase "tongue-in-cheek" in reference to the style of this novel, and I made Jason do an obscene gesture to demonstrate its origin--David looked it up and apparently it was from when 18th century minstrels would perform for dukes and the nobles would make fun of poor performances by sticking their tongue firmly in their cheeks... in modern times usually accompanied by a hand gesture...

message 30: by Alethea (last edited Nov 16, 2008 08:58PM) (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
I've heard of all of them except the 2 with stars!! **

Hey, at least I've read Heidi. I give myself 10 points back.

message 31: by Jane (new)

Jane (janeg) | 248 comments Mod
Ok, Liz you get 20 pts back.

Thanks for joining us!

message 32: by Jane (new)

Jane (janeg) | 248 comments Mod
I can't remember Number the Stars, but I do remember REALLY liking it in 7th grade when I read it. I think I'll have to reread.

message 33: by Jane (new)

Jane (janeg) | 248 comments Mod
Lizette, for some reason I think if a book is less than 400 pages you would still think it was short.

message 34: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
We're digressing and talking about possible books to read for December as unofficial non-mandatory selections: Charles Dickens's The Christmas Carol (in the bibliography), Christopher Moore's The Stupidest Angel (not YA), or Roald Dahl's James the Giant Peach.

message 35: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
Liz and/or Nancy, what did you like most about The Willoughbys? Any favorite words from the glossary or books from the bibliography?

Nancy did you have any favorite parts that made you laugh out loud... or close to it...

message 36: by Jane (new)

Jane (janeg) | 248 comments Mod
I like Tycoon.

message 37: by Liz (new)

Liz (jedimindreader) | 4 comments Jane knows me freakishly well. Yup that's probably it. That's an indirect result when you read all the Dickens novels when you hit puberty. There is alot of references that I enjoyed starting with Dickens (of course) and ending with the description of Little Women characters. Made me laugh. Lowry masters making the most complex of books into concise descriptions.

message 38: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
Ok, the decision has been made--Tales of Beedle the Bard is the December YABC selection! (yes, we're geeks, we know)

message 39: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
we have devolved into talking about Borders... figures...

message 40: by Liz (new)

Liz (jedimindreader) | 4 comments HaHa alrighty then. I shall convene for the Tales of the Beedle of the Bard in December =).

message 41: by Jane (new)

Jane (janeg) | 248 comments Mod
Meeting's over. Great meeting! It was the first time we attempted to take notes at a meeting and it wasn't so bad. I've been thinking about recording and transcribing the discussions, but haven't gotten around to doing it yet. Good idea Alethea for the online live blogging.

The general consensus was that instead of skipping December (because of the Holidays and Finals), we would have a short book instead... So I take it back that we were not going to have a meeting in December. Final date will be posted soon.

As for the "Criollo" that we were suppose to test today, I didn't plan it well and forgot the little detail that it would take about 3 hours for it to cool properly, so it wasn't ready for serving. However, when I got home, it was nearly at the right temp, so I did the last steps and tomorrow it'll be good for tasting. No use I know... But I'll tell you guys how it turned out.

Again, January is our One Year Anniversary. It'll be at Damaris' apt. The book is Wildwood Dancing. Date to be determined.

Next month is Beedle the Bard; Date to be determined. Live Online blogging will resume then. Feel free to continue posting here about The Willoughbys.

Thanks to everyone who joined us.

message 42: by Jane (new)

Jane (janeg) | 248 comments Mod
Oh yeah, Jane is sorry she called Liz a flake and she looses 20 pts. I think I'm in the negatives now.

message 43: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
So here's the final count: YABC members give The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry 3.2 out of 5 stars, mostly graded down for being too short.

Thumbs up: Funny! Easy to read. Cute illustrations (Alethea will post her artwork later). Hateful parents. A & B. Kudos to Nanny for putting people in their place, esp. Tim. Favorite character: Jane, for even thinking about standing up to Tim, for being a dodo, and for obvious reasons (this last qualification being from Jane G.) Faking German. Points and Steps.

Thumbs down: Too short! Hateful parents (this comment from David). Also, the intended audience may not really get the humor. Better understood by adults.

Favorite big words from the glossary:
Villainous (Roxy and Alethea)
Tycoon (Jane)
Odious (David)
Glossary (Alethea)
Contemplating (Alethea)

What? I like words.

Books in the bibliography not read by members at the meeting: (? indicates can't remember enough to say s/he really read it)

Adv. of Huck Finn (Jane & Roxana)

Anne of Green Gables (Jane, David, Roxana)

Bobbsey Twins (Jane?, David, Roxana)

A Christmas Carol (Jane, Roxana)

Heidi (Jane, David, Roxana)

James & The Giant Peach (Jane, Alethea, Roxana)

Jane Eyre (Alethea?, David?)

Little Women (David, Roxana)

Mary Poppins (all 4)

Pollyanna (all 4)

Ragged Dick (all 4) -- seriously, who reads Horatio Alger nowadays if they don't *hafta* read him?

The Secret Garden (Roxana)

Toby Tyler (all 4--honestly, never heard of it!)

- - -

If you think of anything else, keep posting here--Alethea will be putting together reading guides and other resources for YABC after fall semester ends.

message 44: by Jane (new)

Jane (janeg) | 248 comments Mod
Criollo good.

message 45: by Jane (new)

Jane (janeg) | 248 comments Mod
Oh yeah, I mentioned it during the meeting but forgot to post: I was a little freaked out that Ruth married Tim at the end.

message 46: by Roxy (new)

Roxy (r_a_black) | 70 comments Jane, I noticed in an earlier post that you used "Ok" instead of, "Okay". I'm deducting 15 points. A YABC member uses the full spelling of words.

I'm not sure if anyone mentioned the audiobook, but I really did love listening to that. I think Arte Johnson(?) did a really good job on that, he kept making me giggle, especially with his voice for Jane. I'll probably listen to it once in a while when I'm bored.

message 47: by Roxy (new)

Roxy (r_a_black) | 70 comments I also noticed that I made the mistake of deducting points from Jane for using, "Ok" instead of "Okay" even though I tend to use "I'm" instead of "I am." I think it is very mature of me to admit this, so I am awarding myself fifty points.

message 48: by Alethea (new)

Alethea A (frootjoos) | 246 comments Mod
(giggles, then subtracts 2 points from her total for giggling)

Roxana, can you post the argument regarding the individuality of the Weasley Twins vs. the individuality of the Willoughby Twins?

I don't remember how it went but I get 2 points for remembering to remind you to post about it.

message 49: by Jane (last edited Nov 19, 2008 01:26AM) (new)

Jane (janeg) | 248 comments Mod
Roxy, I'm deducting 15 points from you because you used YABC instead of Young Adult Book Council. According to YABC rule #57, "A YABC member uses the full spelling of words."

I'm also granting myself 50 points for being clever. Rule #9 states that "Jane gets points for being clever and un-dodo like."

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