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Researchers constantly find that reading to children is valuable in a variety of ways, not least of which are instilling a love of reading and improved reading skills. With better parent-child bonding from reading, your child will also be more emotionally secure and able to relate better to others. Intellectual performance will expand as well. Spending time together watching television fails as a substitute.

To help other parents apply this advice, as a parent of four I consulted an expert, our youngest child, and asked her to share with me her favorite books that were read to her as a younger child. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase was one of her picks.

We discovered this wonderful book through a school assignment. It is not a book that I would have expected that our daughter would have liked because the young heroines face terrible trials. She found the book very exciting and rewarding though, and I think you will, too.

Bonnie Green has lived in the lap of luxury in the manor house of Willoughby Chase in the English countryside. Her father, Sir Willoughby, is the richest man for five counties. She has all the toys, clothes, and ponies that anyone could want, and indulgent parents who encourage her to try things out. There is much love in the house, both from her parents and the dedicated household workers.

Because Bonnie's mother, Lady Sophia, has become ill, her parents are about to leave on a sea voyage to restore her health. Sir Willoughby has asked his attorney, Mr. Gripe, to locate a suitable governess and he recommends one who is a fourth cousin once removed of Bonnie's, Miss Slighcarp, who arrives the night before the parents leave.

To keep Bonnie company, Sir Willoughby has also invited Bonnie's cousin Sylvia to stay. Both will be tutored by Miss Slighcarp, who will also run the estate. Cousin Sylvia is an orphan has been living with Sir Willoughby's elderly sister, Aunt Jane. They have been barely surviving in genteel poverty, and Aunt Jane makes new clothes for the trip from her curtains.

Sylvia has to make a terrible journey by herself on the train. It is freezing cold, and wolves attack the train. One breaks the window and comes into the compartment. Fortunately, a fellow passenger, Mr. Grimshaw, subdues and kills the wolf before it can do any damage. He loans her a traveling rug to help keep her warm. Then he is injured when a suitcase hits him in the head. Bonnie insists that they bring him to Willoughby Chase for the doctor to look at. The servants have to shoot at the wolves to keep them away from the horses on the ride back to Willoughby Chase.

As soon as Bonnie's parents leave strange things start to happen. Most of the servants are dismissed. Mr. Grimshaw and Miss Slighcarp are looking through all of Sir Willoughby's papers and burning some. And, Miss Slighcarp starts wearing all of Lady Sophia's best gowns! When Bonnie complains, she is locked in a closet with only bread and water for food. Worse treatment soon follows.

The story makes a fine development of the concept that there are human wolves who can attack in packs and bring great danger to anyone, even the richest and most powerful. As a result, the reader comes to be appropriately skeptical of the intentions of others. But there are many characters who display good qualities, expecially love, loyalty, generosity, and courage. So the message does not make a young person feel insecure . . . just more cautious. The advice that all parents give to be careful around strangers is seconded in the story, when Mr. Grimshaw turns out to be an accomplice of Miss Slighcarp's in her greedy, evil plot.

The adventures that the girls go through are a combination of Oliver Twist, 101 Dalmatians, and a female version of Tom Sawyer. The story is enlivened by the many dramatic pen and ink drawings that accompany the text, and the humorous names for many of the less savory characters.

A good discussion to have with your child after you read this book together is how to tell if someone is trustworthy or not. You may also want to use this opportunity to encourage your child to look out for her or his rights, whether the person is a stranger or . . . even a relative.

May all be warm and safe from danger . . . especially from human wolves!
0Kommentar| 3 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 26. März 1999
I was first given this book as a gift when I was 11 or 12, and read it over and over for years. It's gone missing within the past 25 years or so, but I never forgot it. It always totally absorbed my interest and started me on a lifelong love of everything English. Now that I know I can get my hands on it again, I'll buy a new copy to read over and over during the second half of my life.
0Kommentar| Eine Person fand diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 24. April 1998
I read this wonderful book to my daughter beginning at age five and continuing through age 10 or so. It was our favorite book to read together and we must have read it five or six times. Joan Aiken has weaved a suspenseful plot driven by strong characters, both good and evil. At the time I began reading "Wolves" to my daughter (1983) it was one of the very few book-length stories I could find that featured girls as heroes--girls who learned to overcome adversity and take care of themselves, with a little help from good friends. Aiken never writes down to her audience, and the vocabulary is quite challenging. But my daughter and I never worried about that too much. I'd read, she'd listen, and over time she figured out the words for herself and added them to her own vocabulary. Today, she's a professional writer herselrf (at age 19 1/2) and I've often thought that the time we spent with Joan Aiken's beautifully structured books had something to do with that!
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am 13. Juli 1999
This book is great! Sylvia goes to live with her cousin Bonnie and they both are treated badly when Bonnie's parents go away on a sea trip by their governess. They are taken to an orphanage when the governess (Miss Slighcarp) starts her plans to take over Willoughby Chase and doesn't have time for them. They escape from the orphange with a little help from their friend, Simon and make their way to London, where they find Sylvia's Aunt Jane. Buy this book or pick it up from the library to find out what happens next. I recommend it to people who like adventures where girls are the heroes, and well-written stories. Joan Aiken's books have girls as the heroes in all of her books that I have read so far. They are really adventurous. DO NOT judge the book before it is finished, because sometimes the most unexpected endings occur. Read this book!
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am 14. April 1999
This book was excellent, i have only read it twice but if i could check it out again i would. This book was definately one of the BEST I have ever read. I liked this book because it ranges from exciting, to terror, and then back to happiness. When i was first assigned this book i thought it looked like the stupidest thing i had ever seen. I also thought that Bonnie was a little self-centered snob that was spoiled rotten. As i continued to read i realized that she cared about her cousin and truly cared for the other orphans. I'm one of those people who likes a little bit of blood and gore, throughout the entire book i was waiting for someone to get eaten by a wolf. If someone would have i would have given it 5 stars instead of 4. Overall this was a good book and I look forward to reading other of Joan Aiken's books!
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am 7. Mai 1999
I really loved this book when I was younger, and would be interested to read it again to see if it gives me the same pleasure (a lot of books I used to love don't). I remember liking the contrast between Bonnie and Sylvia - one feisty and impetuous, the other sweet and meek - it makes me think now of the contrast between Jane andElizabeth Bennet, or Bella Wilfer and Lizzie Hexam. Of course I always identified with the feisty one, but you need the sweet mild one for balance. I also loved hearing about their escape from Miss Slighcarp and the awful orphanage-type place where they had to stay. It's true the book is sometimes quite scary and disturbing, but then so is a lot of Roald Dahl and some of the "Mary Poppins" books - I don't think children should be scared too much, but a little adds spice to a story.
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am 13. Mai 2000
There's something pleasantly familiar about this story. Two cousins are left in the care of a nasty governess, who wastes no time in converting the two to Cinderella-ish slaves.
The tale is set in an alternate England, but as it is a historical novel doubtless younger readers will not pick up on the idiosyncracies of the setting.
There is little humour--it's a rather serious book, really--but it's a page-turner. Think of it as a precursor to Snicket's more enthusiastic "A Series of Unfortunate Events."
Note: 3 stars, for me, is a pretty good review. 4 is for extremely distinguished works, and 5 only for those I consider classics. Most of what is published is, unfortunately, a 2 or less.
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am 24. November 2006
"The Wolves Of Willoughby Chase" is a great book. It is also my first book from Joan Aiken and it fascinated me. It was a great journey I travelled together with Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia. This book is full of adventures. The wolves - of course - Miss Slighcarp and everything else. It is a MUST to read and I guess you'll miss something if you don't. Perhaps it's a book for children, but it also captured me!
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am 4. Februar 2017
This book has been one of my all time favourite children's books. I cant count how many times I have read it over the years.
Recently it has been on my mind a lot again since the election of Trump (Miss Slighcarp?) and Brannon (Mr Grimshaw?).
Very archetypal story! May the good overturn the evil forces once again!
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am 28. Dezember 1999
This is a great book for 9-101 year old people. It teaches you many things about life. When two little cousins,Bonnie and Sylvia are left in the care of a cruel governess while Bonnie's parents are off to a sea voyage. What is going to happen next? Read and find out for your self!
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