This is the third book of a new series. The books are a fun read, not much of a plot in each book, but the bigger mystery of the children’s past (and Penelope’s past as well) keep the reader interested in the series. Each book reveals a couple small clues about the mysteries.
My Mom-Meter gives this particular book an overall safety rating of 2 (Moderately Safe) for ages 8 and up.
Here are the potential moral issues parents might wish to talk with their kids about:
- There are a few surprising clues that lead the reader to suspect that Lord Ashton turns into a wolf every full moon. His father apparently suffered the same affliction.
- There is a mildly gruesome description of Lord Ashton’s father disappearing in a tar pit, leaving only his hat.
- Miss Lumley has a moral dilemma about deceiving her employer and helping a man use the children to hunt for an ostrich he lost on the estate. She is afraid that the children will be shot if Lord Ashton joins the hunt (he is very nearsighted), so she goes along with a small deception, but ends up wishing that she had not agreed to let the children hunt. Potential Discussion Point: Was it right for Miss Lumley to deceive Lord Ashton? Could she have made a different choice to protect the children?
- Miss Lumley misses her parents more in this book, and wonders why they left her at the Academy without contacting her for so long. She also wonders who would abandon the children in the woods. Potential Discussion Point: Do parents abandon their children? Why do you think they might?
- Lord Ashton’s mother has a suitor who is only interested in her money, but pretends to care for her. Potential Discussion Point: Do people sometimes act as if they like you just to get something from you?
- She requests a seance to ask her dead husband if he would want her to remarry. A man appears (who has appeared in previous books), and Lord Ashton’s mother is convinced that it is her dead husband. It is not clear at the end of the book if it is her husband or just a hoax, but it is clear that the seance did not call him from the dead.
- Lady Ashton hates the children, but acts like she loves them while her mother-in-law is around. Potential Discussion Point: How does it make you feel when other people act nice when others are around, but don’t really care about you? Do you ever act that way?
From a kid’s perspective: “Kids 8 and up who like mysteries or the Lemony Snicket books will like these books. They are really easy to read. I give it 5 stars out of 5 stars.”