November's Book and Bear Box featured the classic children's chapter book by Joan Aiken, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. This is a book we have been looking forward to sharing, since it is one of our very favorite books from childhood, too.
About The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
"Wicked Wolves without and a grim governess within threaten Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia when Bonnie's parents leave Willoughby Chase for a sea voyage. Left in the care of the cruel Miss Slighcarp, the girls can hardly believe what is happening to their lovely, once happy home. The servants are dismissed, the furniture is sold, and, dressed in rags, Bonnie and Sylvia are sent to a prisonlike school for orphans. It seems as if the endless hours of drudgery will never cease.
With the help of Simon the gooseboy and his flock, they escape. But where will they go? And how will they ever free Willoughby Chase from the clutches of the evil Miss Slighcarp?"
Why is it a favorite?
From the first time I read The Wolves of Willoughby Chase as a 9 year old I was fascinated by Sylvia the Orphan, the beautiful mansion where she went to live with her cousin, Bonnie, which had secret passages and luxury beyond imagining. Then there's the evil governess who turns the world upside down for Bonnie and Sylvia while Bonnie's parents are on a sea voyage, and turns Bonnie's home into a Boarding School! Page after page of adventure, escapes and the wonderful feeling that even as a child you still have the ability to overcome challenging situations, care for your friends and family, and find a way to a better life.
What is the age range for Wolves?
Treat yourself to reading this book aloud to your children (ages at least 7), and you'll have the opportunity to enjoy and discuss the adventures of Bonnie and Sylvia and their friend, Simon, the Goose Boy. There are many difficult vocabulary words in Wolves, primarily because it is written in British English, is historical, but also because Joan Aiken doesn't follow a reading level vocabulary list. But this makes for a great opportunity for readers and listeners alike to find new words to add to their vocabularies. So be sure to keep access to a dictionary nearby as you read, and pause as often as necessary to help gain an understanding of what is happening in the story.
Where can I find more resources for using this book as an Educational Activity?
We found a couple of lesson plans and literature studies on TeachersPayTeachers.com that you can purchase and download for larger classes or to adapt to a Home School situation. There's even one that has an interactive element for students.
We also found this fabulous ebook from Cornerstones Education. It is full of great questions, activities and information about the time period and can be a great resource to help you get the most out of this classic book. They have a free PDF download at this link: https://s3-eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/cornerstones--live/uploads/2020/03/19161022/The-Wolves-of-Willoughby-Chase-Joan-Aiken.pdf
Plus, just reading together and discussing a book you both enjoy is a great way to conduct informal and comfortable educational activities without anyone knowing they're learning. 🙊
I first read The Wolves of Willoughby Chase as a child, then read it aloud to my younger sister, and many years later to my own children. I've personally read this book at least 10 times to myself and to others! If you haven't read The Wolves of Willoughby Chase yet, treat yourself and your kids to this really fun read-aloud.
Perfect for kids as young as 5 or 6 and for strong readers up to 13 or so. We still have a few of our Wolf Boxes available on Bookandbear.com so you can treat yourself and your kids to a great book AND they can build their own wolf to hug at the scariest parts of the story. Wolves were wildly popular, so get yours before they run away.