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Cover image for Witherwood Reform School
Format:
Title:
Witherwood Reform School
ISBN:
9780805098792

9781250073471
Edition:
First edition.
Publication:
New York : Henry Holt and Company, [2015]
Physical Description:
231 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm
Series title(s):
Number in series:
bk. 1.
General Note:
"Christy Ottaviano Books."
Summary:
After a slight misunderstanding involving a horrible governess, gravy, and a jar of tadpoles, Tobias and Charlotte Eggers find themselves abandoned by their father at the gates of a creepy reform school. Sinister mysteries are afoot at Witherwood, where the grounds are patrolled by vicious creatures after dark and kids stay locked in their rooms. Charlotte and Tobias soon realize that they are in terrible danger - especially because the head of Witherwood has perfected the art of mind control. If only their amnesiac father would recover and remember that he has two missing children. If only Tobias and Charlotte could solve the dark mystery and free the kids at Witherwood - and ultimately save themselves.
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Summary

Summary

After a slight misunderstanding involving a horrible governess, gravy, and a jar of tadpoles, siblings Tobias and Charlotte Eggars find themselves abandoned by their father at the gates of a creepy reform school. Sinister mysteries are afoot at Witherwood, where the grounds are patrolled by vicious creatures and kids are locked in their rooms. Charlotte and Tobias soon realize that they are in terrible danger-especially because the head of Witherwood has perfected the art of mind control. If only their amnesiac father would recover. If only Tobias and Charlotte could solve the dark mystery and free the kids at Witherwood-and ultimately save themselves.Obert Skye's new series is for all those fans of A Series of Unfortunate Events and A Tale Dark and Grimm.


Author Notes

Obert Skye is the author and illustrator of the Creature from My Closet series: Wonkenstein, Potterwookiee, Pinocula, and Katfish. He has also written the bestselling children's fantasy adventure series Leven Thumps and Pillage. He currently lives indoors and near a thin, winding road with his family.


Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-This is a dark, fantastical adventure shrouded in mystery, reminiscent of Lemony Snicket's "Series of Unfortunate Events" (HarperCollins). After tricking their nasty governess into eating tadpoles disguised as gravy, Tobias and Charlotte father has had enough. He drives them outside of town into the dark, rainy night and leaves them outside an old, grim, weathered building, named "Witherwood." His intention is to teach them a lesson; never would he have anticipated an accident would leave him with amnesia, unable to even remember he had children, let alone where he had left them. Boldly, Tobias and Charlotte eventually decide to enter Witherwood. Witherwood's headmaster has created a form of mind control, camouflaged as compounds in food. Tobias and Charlotte must overcome such manipulations as they determine the true aim of Witherwood. The fast-moving plot filled with clues will keep readers wondering and surprised at what comes next. An anonymous narrator adds dark humor while providing background information and hints. Skye's witty descriptions and elevated vocabulary add to the novel's peculiarity yet may be challenging for some readers. Expect kids to demand future installments. Highly recommended as a fresh addition to middle grade fantasy collections.-Mary-Brook J. Townsend, The McGillis School, Salt Lake City, UT (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publisher's Weekly Review

In this Snicketesque series opener, Skye (the Creature from My Closet series) crafts an imaginative, absorbing tale in which nothing is as it seems. As the story opens, Ralph Eggers drops off his "highly mischievous" children-Tobias, 12, and Charlotte, 11-in front of a deserted building in hopes of scaring them into better behavior. When the children's father does not return, they seek refuge inside the forbidding structure, only to learn that this safe haven is anything but. The Witherwood Reform School, where they discover they've landed, is run by strange adults, haunted by terrifying creatures, populated with puppetlike children, and emblazoned with odd, depressing mottos like "Some things aren't worth trying" and "Time is a trick of the mind." Thompson's illustrations, mostly character portraits, are appropriately grim, and there's never a dull moment as the siblings grapple with abandonment, loss, fear, and the incredible power of the mind. Skye's portrayal of their bravery and hope brings a ray of hope to the delightfully creepy story line. Ages 9-12. Author's agent: Laurie Liss, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Horn Book Review

Tobias and Charlotte Eggers misbehave once again, and their father deserts them outside Witherwood Reform School. After weeks following the school's rules and trying not to lose their minds, the siblings rescue themselves. Each chapter starts with dark advice from an unknown narrator. While the pacing is choppy, fans of Lemony Snicket's humor will love this book. Shadowy black-and-white illustrations add atmosphere. (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus Review

A brother and sister find themselves trapped in a frightening school that threatens to destroy their minds in this dark comedy.Tobias, 12, and Charlotte, 11, don't like their awful nanny, but when they play one trick too many on her, their father becomes enraged, drives them out to the desert and leaves them by the side of the road. Readers soon learn that their dad feels guilty and rushes back to retrieve them, but events intervene, and the siblings wind up virtually imprisoned in the terrible Witherwood Reform School. Apparently run by the odd-looking Mr. Orrin, the school looms like a prison. Tobias fashions a makeshift key that allows the two to sneak around at night, where they meet another student, Fiddle, a boy constantly and unsuccessfully working a Rubik's Cube. He clues them in on some of the school's secrets, which makes them all the more determined to escape. Skye writes in very much the same vein as Lemony Snicket, with menacing dark humor and outlandish characters. The volume opens a new series, so after plenty of suspense and revelations about the truly awful school, readers can be assured that the siblings will still face precarious circumstances in the next installment. One can almost hear the Tim Curry narration. (Adventure. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Mischievous children Tobias and Charlotte Eggers, in an act of revenge on their unpleasant nanny, accidentally get caught by their father on a very bad day. In an effort to discipline his unruly children, Ralph drops them off at the decrepit Witherwood Reform School, where, with the help of the evil headmaster and a terrible car accident, he soon forgets about them. The eerie excitement kicks up as the kids try to escape the spooky school, only to be caught again by the very odd science teacher. Forced into becoming students, the Eggers children must find their way through the mysterious halls of the reform school, intent on finding their father again. Along the way, they dodge scary teachers and rely on their wits to evade capture with the help of new friends, such as the eccentric Fiddle, who knows more than he realizes. Skye's old-fashioned, witty writing style and amusing humor is the perfect fit for fans of the Spiderwick Chronicles and A Series of Unfortunate Events series.--Comfort, Stacey Copyright 2015 Booklist