Whimsy and Woe by Rebecca McRitchie
HarperCollins, 2017. ISBN 9781460753040
(Age: 10+) Recommended. For fans of Withering-By-Sea comes a story from talented debut author Rebecca McRitchie about two curiously named children.
After being abandoned by their thespian parents one afternoon while playing their weekly family game of hide-and-seek, Whimsy and Woe Mordaunt are left in the care of their austere Aunt Apoline.
Forced to work in her boarding house, looking after the guests, sharpening the thorns of every plant in the poisonous plant garden and listening to off-key renditions of 'Fish Are Friends Too' - an aria made famous by the legendary Magnus Montgomery - Whimsy and Woe lose all hope that their parents will someday return. Until one day, quite by accident, the siblings stumble upon a half-charred letter that sets them on a course to freedom and finding their parents. Dark, funny, darkly funny and funnily dark, Whimsy and Woe takes readers on an adventure with two intrepid siblings in a tale of mischief, monocles, mice and mist.
I found this book to be intriguing and I think it will be a huge hit with children who love A Series of Unfortunate Events. It is not for the faint hearted as it is a long read but extremely engaging. Both Whimsy and Woe are strong lead characters who meet a variety of characters, both good and bad. They must escape from ever presenting perils which results in only strengthening their relationship. Themes such as perseverance, family and adventure are developed. This is a must have in the library collection and would make a fantastic read aloud but only by teachers who read on a daily basis as it is rather lengthy. I can imagine the class hanging on every word and wanting more at the end of a reading session.