• The Willoughbys Return

  • By: Lois Lowry
  • Narrated by: Jorjeana Marie
  • Length: 3 hrs and 37 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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The Willoughbys Return

By: Lois Lowry
Narrated by: Jorjeana Marie
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Publisher's Summary

Now a Netflix animated film starring Will Forte, Maya Rudolph, Alessia Cara, Terry Crews, Martin Short, Jane Krakowski, Séan Cullen, and Ricky Gervais!

It's been 30 years and with rising temperatures melting icy mountain tops the previously frozen Willoughbys have thawed out and are about to return! From living legend and Newbery medalist Lois Lowry comes a hilarious sequel to New York Times best seller The Willoughbys - now an animated film starring Ricky Gervais, Maya Rudolph, Terry Crews, Martin Short, Jane Krakowski, and Sean Cullen on Netflix!

Although they grew up as wretched orphans, the Willoughby siblings also became heirs to the the Melanoff candy company fortune. Everything has turned out just splendidly, except for one problem: Richie Willoughby, son of Timothy Willoughby, is an only child and is quite lonely. 

Winifred and Winston Poore have long admired the toys of their neighbor Richie Willoughby and finally befriend the mysterious boy next door. But just as Richie finally begins to make friends, selling sweets is made illegal, and the family's fortune is put in jeopardy. To make matters worse, Richie's horrible Willoughby grandparents - frozen atop a Swiss mountain thirty years ago - have thawed, remain in perfect health, and are making their way home again. 

What is the point of being the reclusive son of a billionaire when your father is no longer a billionaire? What is the future without candy in it? And is there any escaping the odiousness of the Willoughbys? These are the profound questions with which Newbery medalist and ignominious author Lois Lowry grapples in The Willoughbys Return.

©2020 Lois Lowry (P)2020 Listening Library

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Wow

If you enjoyed the Willoughbys, in all of its slightly macabre undertones and dry humor, this book is an incredible follow up; it’s both similar and distinctly different. It retains the comedic jabs at literary tropes, while at the same time offering more substance and complexity than the first.
As a quick note: the narrator did not bring the hilarious sarcasm the first guy did. She speaks in a rather condescending “I’m reading a children’s story” tone, and refused to stoop to actually sing “Let It Go” when brought up.

While the main characters are children, and the story is written for children, the true stars are all of the adult characters, which begs the question: who was this written for?
Adults in children’s stories are things to be rid of. Whether literally killing them off, as in the first book, or simply leaving the children as orphans, this book addresses the problem that many children’s books face: what about the parents? What about the fallout that all children face when left to deal with their emotions regarding evil parents?
The Poores are an incredible addition to the story. Disabled by their own poor choices, the author questions the reader in subtle yet clear tones: are you making choices that inhibit your own growth?
If the Willoughbys left anything to be desired, the author has put in an incredible amount of work to redeem anything that was broken in the first story. I applaud you, Lois Lowry, for recognizing that the first story was ever incomplete.