At our monthly librarians' meetings, we are given the opportunity to choose new books to read, review, and add to our campus libraries.
I recently chose Witherwood Reform School by Obert Skye, a chapter book with an intriguing title and cover.
By the second chapter, I was making connections between Witherwood and Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events, with a shared theme of wily, independent children left to their own devices due to an absence of parents.
In Skye's book, motherless siblings Tobias and Charlotte Eggers have had their fill of incompetent nannies, and their father has had his fill of their escalating misbehavior. In an effort to scare the children straight, he drops them off in front of a reform school, with the intent of picking them up after letting them stew awhile. Unfortunately, a car accident prevents his return. The children are left to fend for themselves in this strange facility with creepy employees, vicious animals of questionable species, and the mind-bending Mr. Withers himself. Will they ever see their father again? Will they live that long?
The book's darkly funny narrator reminds us that bad things happen all the time. Don't expect a happy ending...but it will leave you wanting more to the story. I'm looking forward to the next installment.