類別:文學小說/兒童小說.
 (版權窗口 繁體: Cynthia  簡體: Cynthia  )
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Book 1: the Mysterious Howling
艾希頓森林的野孩子 - 第一集:神秘的咆哮一族
作者:Maryrose Wood
版本: 精裝272頁  2010 年 3 月  HarperCollins出版
內容介紹

對於特別頑皮搗蛋的小孩,人們有時會下此評論:「喔!他們是一群被狼養大的野孩子!」

無法管教的野孩子確實存在。他們在艾希頓地區的森林中狂野的奔跑,這群野孩子並不是一般正常的孩子:年約十歲的亞歷山大,總是用牙齒輕咬弟妹,把大夥兒聚在一起;大約四歲或五歲大的小妹卡西歐佩,吠叫的功力總不如她的咬人功力;年紀介於中間的弟弟貝武夫,警覺性特別高,最擅長追擊松鼠。

幸好家庭女教師潘娜洛普小姐也不是省油的燈,年僅十五歲,剛從Swanburne女子學院畢業的她,勇敢地面對新職位的挑戰。雖然潘娜洛普滿懷熱誠,想教導孩子們拉丁文語法和如何正確使用地球儀,她的首要任務卻是得幫助他們改掉類似犬科動物的天性:光著身子幾乎不穿衣服,頭髮凌亂如稻草,當然還包括難以理解的嚎叫。

但艾希頓的森林裡充滿著各種神秘現象:這三個野孩子究竟是誰?他們怎麼會住在這片廣大的森林,又如何單獨生存?為何馬車夫提摩太老先生,總是偷偷地躲在角落監視著?

潘娜洛普小姐能夠在短時間內完成不可能的任務,成功教導他們餐桌禮儀和社交用語,接著帶他們一起參加康士坦小姐舉辦的假日舞會嗎?還有還有,波爾卡舞曲究竟是什麼東西啊?

潘娜洛普小姐對神祕的事物並不陌生,就像她自己的身世也是一團解不開的謎。但正如Swanburne女子學院的Agatha Swanburne女士所言:「事出必有因,但我們並不知道原因為何─至少,現在還不知情。」

作者介紹

作者Maryrose Wood 曾擔任百老匯女演員、喜劇演員、和劇作家。她的作品有青少年小說,《艾希頓森林的野孩子》是她最新創作、也是首度為中年級兒童寫作的小說系列。作者個人網站: http://www.maryrosewood.com/

書評

***STARRED REVIEW***

May – School Library Journal

Gr 5-8–Jane Eyre meets Lemony Snicket in this smart, surprising satire of a 19th-century English governess story. A witty omniscient narrator speaks directly to modern readers and follows 15-year-old Penelope, recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, to British country manor Ashton Place, where conniving Lord Fredrick has discovered three wild children apparently raised by wolves while hunting in his vast forest property. To Lord Fredrick, who’s named them Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia Incorrigible, the children are trophies and property (“Finder’s keepers, what?”); to young Lady Constance they’re savage nuisances who howl, chase squirrels, and gnaw on shoes. Enter Penelope Lumley, charged with taming them in time for a Christmas party, and bolstered by her top-notch classical education and an endless supply of platitudes from Agatha Swanburne. She also comes armed with a cherished book of poetry and her favorite fiction series, “Giddy-Yap, Rainbow!” There are stock characters, and there are mysteries. Most of all, without taking itself too seriously, there is commentary on writing itself, the dangers and the benefits of relying on books for moral courage, and the perils of drawing false expectations of the world from literature. Penelope shows growth, confronting issues of social class and expectation versus reality, and eventually realizing her own capacity for insight. Humorous antics and a climactic cliff-hanger ending will keep children turning pages and clamoring for the next volume, while more sophisticated readers will take away much more. Frequent plate-sized illustrations add wit and period flair.–Riva Pollard, Prospect Sierra Middle School, El Cerrito, CA

 

***STARRED REVIEW***

January 18 – Publishers Weekly

In this humorous kickoff to the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series, Wood (My Life: The Musical) injects new life into the governess theme by charging genteel 15-year-old Penelope Lumley (educated at the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females) with three wild children—Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia—who were raised in the woods and taken into the “care” of Lord Frederic Ashton and his selfish, superficial bride (the children are living in a barn when Penelope arrives). With a Snicketesque affect, Wood's narrative propels the drama; Penelope is a standout, often invoking the truisms of her school's founder (“The best way to find out how fast a horse can run is to smack it on the rump”) while caring for the Incorrigibles—named such so they won't be presumed Ashton's heirs. Despite the slapstick situations involving the children's disheveled appearance, pack behavior, and lack of language, the real barbarism comes from the Ashtons and a society that eagerly anticipates their failure. Though the novel ends a bit abruptly, the pervasive humor and unanswered questions should have readers begging for more. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. (Feb.)

 

***STARRED REVIEW***

January 1 – Kirkus

Fresh from the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, 15-year-old Penelope Lumley reports to remote but palatial Ashton Place and discovers just why the advertisement for a governess indicated a strong preference for “Experience with Animals.” The three young children are not the offspring of disdainful newlywed Lady Ashton but were recently found in the forest, raised (apparently) by wolves. Lacking magical props but in every other respect a Mary Poppins in the bud, Miss Lumley quickly gets the wild but winning trio out of the barn and into the nursery, washed, properly dressed and—thanks to a savvy strategy of “careful demonstration, a great deal of repetition, and the occasional use of tasty treats”—on the road to civilized behavior. Tongue so forcibly in cheek that medical intervention may be required, Wood plunges her inexperienced but resourceful heroine into an unusually challenging domestic situation, winds the plot up and closes with an aftermath laced with tantalizing hints that All Is Not As It Seems. It’s the best beginning since The Bad Beginning (1999) and will leave readers howling for the next episode. (High melodrama. 10-12)

Booklist, December 15