Monday, May 3, 2010


By Maryrose Wood
Publisher: Balzer and Bray, An imprint of Harper Collins
ISBN: 978-0-06-179105-5

FROM THE FLAP: Of especially naughty children, it is sometimes said: “They must have been raised by wolves.”

The Incorrigible children actually were.

Discovered in the forests of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children: Alexander keeps his siblings in line with gentle nips; Cassiopeia has a bark that is (usually) worse than her bite; and Beowulf is alarmingly adept at chasing squirrels.

Luckily, Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess. Only fifteen years old and a graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, Penelope embraces the challenge of her new situation. Though she is eager to instruct the children in Latin verbs and the proper use of globes, first she must eliminate their canine tendencies.

But mysteries abound at Ashton Place: Who are these three wild creatures? Why does Old Timothy, the coachman, lurk around every corner? Will Penelope be able to civilize the Incorrigibles in time for Lady Constance’s holiday ball? And what on earth is a schottische?

Penelope is no stranger to mystery, as her own origins are also cloaked in secrecy. But as Agatha Swanburne herself once said, “Things may happen for a reason, but that doesn’t mean we know what the reason is—at least not yet.”

KATE’S TAKE: A deliciously old-fashioned novel laced with foreboding.

CASSIOPEIA CHALLENGES (Logical/Mathematical and Interpersonal)

Cassiopeia creates her own math problems. Ask students to create their own math problems based on scenes in the book. Have each student prove the problem is solveable before challenging another student to solve it.

CHARACTER ACROSTIC POEMS (Verbal/Linguistic and Interpersonal)

Ask each student to pick a character from the book and write an acrostic poem to describe each character. Students should describe physical and personality traits of the character as well as the person’s role in the book.

FOLK DANCE FUN (Kinesthetic and Interpersonal)

Miss Lumley and the children learn to dance the schottische, a popular folk dance of the time. Teach your class how to do a folk dance. This website has great teacher support for this activity:

TABLEAUX VIVANT (Visual/Spatial and Interpersonal)

Ask groups of three or four students to perform tableaux vivants for the class. Students will design sets and props and dress up as characters from a book the class has studied over the year or from a classic tale. The rest of the class will guess which story the students are portraying.

TASTY TREATS (Verbal/linguistic and Interpersonal)

Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia indulge in many delicacies such as petites madeleines at the Christmas ball. Ask each child to bring in a favorite recipe from home and correlate the recipes together to create a class recipe book.


-The Witch’s Guide to Cooking with Children by Keith McGowan
-The Witch’s Guide to Hunting with Children by Keith McGowan
-Werewolves by Stephen Krensky
-Werewolves Don’t Go to Summer Camp by Debbie Dadey
-Werewolves Don’t Run for President by Debbie Dadey


  1. I would read this book just for the opportunity to do a folk dance with my kids :)

  2. Hi Outdoor Mom,

    Yes, this really is an entertaining book. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    Take care,

  3. Hi Rawley,

    Yes! This book made me want to clear the furniture out of our living room and invite everyone over to dance.

    Take care,