Recommended for ages 9-13
When their dads are killed during a bomb explosion at their capybara training camp, siblings Connor and Cordelia are sent to live with their Aunt Marigold and her driver, Gray, in the odd town of Woundabout. There are no kids in Woundabout – they all go to boarding school. They’re told that asking questions is frowned upon, there’s no Internet service, and they’re told to develop and stick to a daily routine. They meet a boy from a neighboring town and together, they start unraveling – or unwinding – some of the secrets kept by the Mayor of Woundabout.
This is a good read for so many reasons. It addresses grief and loss sensitively and with a touch of humor. Every one of the main characters is dealing with a loss of some sort, which propels not only the narrative, but the town of Woundabout itself. Sickness, injury, death, relationships: all of these areas are explored in terms of loss and moving on, and the book can lead to a great discussion about the pros and cons of change in our lives. There are no absolutes, and that’s the message here: there shouldn’t be. For good or bad, change happens and we have to move along with it.
I love that Connor and Cordelia’s parentage is so sweetly addressed. They’re the kids’ parents. That’s it. The illustrations and text show readers that there is “Dad” and “Pop”, and that they adored their children as much as they adored each other. Its very ubiquity makes it stand out as an important facet of the story.
Ellis Rosen’s black and white illustrations add a fun, quirky feel to this unconventional adventure, giving a slightly moody, unbalanced feel to the town of Woundabout.
Woundabout is fun fantasy with some very realistic fiction issues. It’s a great Summer Reading pick. It’s on sale on June 23, so make sure to get your orders in now!