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The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place Series #2)
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The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place Series #2)

4.5 36
by Maryrose Wood, Jon Klassen (Illustrator)

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Found running wild in the forest of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children: Alexander, age ten or thereabouts, keeps his siblings in line with gentle nips; Cassiopeia, perhaps four or five, has a bark that is (usually) worse than her bite; and Beowulf, age somewhere-in-the-middle, is alarmingly adept at chasing squirrels.

Luckily, Miss Penelope


Found running wild in the forest of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children: Alexander, age ten or thereabouts, keeps his siblings in line with gentle nips; Cassiopeia, perhaps four or five, has a bark that is (usually) worse than her bite; and Beowulf, age somewhere-in-the-middle, is alarmingly adept at chasing squirrels.

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

But mysteries abound at Ashton Place: Who are these three wild creatures, and how did they come to live in the vast forests of the estate? Why does Old Timothy, the coachman, lurk around every corner? Will Penelope be able to teach the Incorrigibles table manners and socially useful phrases in time for Lady Constance's holiday ball? And what on earth is a schottische?

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
When repairs to Ashton Place take longer than planned, Lady Constance decides to move the entire household to London. Miss Penelope Lumley, governess to the Ashton's three young wards (Alexander, Beowulf and Cassiopeia), is excited by the change of scenery. She is eager to make use of the city's wealth of educational opportunities—museums, theaters, historical sites—and to visit with Miss Mortimer, her former headmistress at the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females. However, the governess and her charges face many challenges in London, from navigating the city streets to fending off a pickpocket, dealing with Lady Ashton's social pressures to confronting an unusual Gypsy fortune teller, keeping the children from attacking the palace guards' bear hats to distracting them from the city's many pigeons. Sure to remind the reader of Lemony Snicket's series, the Harry Potter novels, and N.E. Bode's The Anybodies, this unusual tale—with its Victorian setting, governess and boarding school elements, references to mythology and horror creatures, and authorial digressions—is sure to capture readers' imagination. Expect the unexpected from this fifteen-year-old governess and her once-feral charges, and you won't be disappointed. Book two of "The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place" series, sequel to The Mysterious Howling. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green
Julie Just
Plot twists out of Charlotte Bronte or Arthur Conan Doyle keep the action absorbing even while the narration is thoroughly tongue-in-cheek.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
In this humorous kickoff to the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series, Wood (My Life: The Musical) injects new life into the governess theme by charging genteel 15-year-old Penelope Lumley (educated at the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females) with three wild children—Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia—who were raised in the woods and taken into the “care” of Lord Frederic Ashton and his selfish, superficial bride (the children are living in a barn when Penelope arrives). With a Snicketesque affect, Wood's narrative propels the drama; Penelope is a standout, often invoking the truisms of her school's founder (“The best way to find out how fast a horse can run is to smack it on the rump”) while caring for the Incorrigibles—named such so they won't be presumed Ashton's heirs. Despite the slapstick situations involving the children's disheveled appearance, pack behavior, and lack of language, the real barbarism comes from the Ashtons and a society that eagerly anticipates their failure. Though the novel ends a bit abruptly, the pervasive humor and unanswered questions should have readers begging for more. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews
Fresh from the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, 15-year-old Penelope Lumley reports to remote but palatial Ashton Place and discovers just why the advertisement for a governess indicated a strong preference for "Experience with Animals." The three young children are not the offspring of disdainful newlywed Lady Ashton but were recently found in the forest, raised (apparently) by wolves. Lacking magical props but in every other respect a Mary Poppins in the bud, Miss Lumley quickly gets the wild but winning trio out of the barn and into the nursery, washed, properly dressed and-thanks to a savvy strategy of "careful demonstration, a great deal of repetition, and the occasional use of tasty treats"-on the road to civilized behavior. Tongue so forcibly in cheek that medical intervention may be required, Wood plunges her inexperienced but resourceful heroine into an unusually challenging domestic situation, winds the plot up and closes with an aftermath laced with tantalizing hints that All Is Not As It Seems. It's the best beginning since The Bad Beginning (1999) and will leave readers howling for the next episode. (High melodrama. 10-12)
Children's Literature - Joyce Rice
In the tradition of Lemony Snicket's Baudelaire children, who live in a time and place where children are ignored and mistreated, villains lurk around every corner and teamwork proves to be a truly favorable trait, the Incorrigible Children enter the literary world. Three unidentified children have been discovered living in the woods within the vast grounds of Ashton Place. Upon their discovery and "capture," the Lord of this vast estate and his young bride engage a governess. Miss Lumley is a recent graduate of the Swanburne School for Poor Bright Females, and she is fully prepared to accept the challenge of teaching these children to behave in this very social world. The children, named Alexander, Beowulf and Cassiopeia by their discoverer, struggle to learn to speak and to display perfect manners. They are constantly watched by the senior gardener and the housekeeper. The fifteen-year-old governess uses all of her training to prepare these children for their public appearance at the estate's Christmas Ball, as demanded by Lord Frederick and Lady Constance. However, unknown sources are at work to undermine all of Miss Lumley's efforts and create chaos at the great Christmas Ball. Unexpected events at the Ball will cause Lady Constance to question her own control of her household and will bring new respect for Miss Lumley. This is Book 1 of a promised series about the "Incorrigible Children at Ashton Place." It will be an excellent series addition to middle school media centers and reading curriculums. Reviewer: Joyce Rice
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Jane Eyre meets Lemony Snicket in this smart, surprising satire of a 19th-century English governess story. A witty omniscient narrator speaks directly to modern readers and follows 15-year-old Penelope, recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, to British country manor Ashton Place, where conniving Lord Fredrick has discovered three wild children apparently raised by wolves while hunting in his vast forest property. To Lord Fredrick, who's named them Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia Incorrigible, the children are trophies and property ("Finder's keepers, what?"); to young Lady Constance they're savage nuisances who howl, chase squirrels, and gnaw on shoes. Enter Penelope Lumley, charged with taming them in time for a Christmas party, and bolstered by her top-notch classical education and an endless supply of platitudes from Agatha Swanburne. She also comes armed with a cherished book of poetry and her favorite fiction series, "Giddy-Yap, Rainbow!" There are stock characters, and there are mysteries. Most of all, without taking itself too seriously, there is commentary on writing itself, the dangers and the benefits of relying on books for moral courage, and the perils of drawing false expectations of the world from literature. Penelope shows growth, confronting issues of social class and expectation versus reality, and eventually realizing her own capacity for insight. Humorous antics and a climactic cliff-hanger ending will keep children turning pages and clamoring for the next volume, while more sophisticated readers will take away much more. Frequent plate-sized illustrations add wit and period flair.—Riva Pollard, Prospect Sierra Middle School, El Cerrito, CA

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place Series , #2
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)
960L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place
Book I: The Mysterious Howling

The Second Chapter

Penelope and Lady Constance converse to the accompaniment of strange noises.

If you have ever visited a theme park full of roller coasters, water slides, and thrilling games of chance, you were undoubtedly tickled half to death by it all. But then, just when it seemed the excitement had reached a fever pitch from which you might never recover, the tedious ordeal of waiting in a long line for the bathroom may have suddenly made you so bored that you wished you were home in bed with the flu.

So it was with Penelope. Despite the two days of anxious travel she had just endured and the important job interview that awaited her, as she sat there trapped in the carriage seat next to a coachman who had decided not to talk, Penelope grew excruciatingly bored. She decided it would be rude to glance at her poetry book.

"I shall have to resort to the scenery to keep me occupied," she thought, turning her mind to the task. They were now passing through stately woods. Dutifully she admired the golden-tipped canopy of leaves and observed how the sunlight could penetrate only here and there, dappling a lush undergrowth of ferns. Some of these she could identify even from a distance: Hart's-tongue ferns, cinnamon ferns, and some with attractive crinkled edges she thought were called corrugated ferns or, if they weren't, ought to be. Penelope had once attended a lecture at Swanburne given by the deputy vice president of the Heathcote Amateur Pteridological Society, and considered herself quite knowledgeable about ferns as a result.

Then she imagined the trees as they would soon look in the full blaze of autumn color...and then afterward, in winter, as a field of bare-branched giants standing on a blanket of white. It made her wonder (although not aloud), "And where will I be come Christmas? If all goes well, I will live here at Ashton Place, a strict but kind-hearted governess with three clever pupils who both fear and adore me."

Penelope had read several novels about such governesses in preparation for her interview and found them chock-full of useful information, although she had no intention of developing romantic feelings for the charming, penniless tutor at a neighboring estate. Or...heaven forbid!...for the darkly handsome, brooding, and extravagantly wealthy master of her own household. Lord Fredrick Ashton was newly married in any case, and she had no inkling what his complexion might be.

"Or perhaps I will mumble my way through my interview like a dimwit and be sent home again in shame," she fretted. "Though, alas! There is no home for me to return to!"

At which point the carriage hit a pothole and flew thirteen-and-one-half inches into the air before crashing down again. The driver took this opportunity to break his silence with the brief and heartfelt outburst mentioned earlier, but it is not necessary to reprint his exact words. Fortunately, Penelope was unfamiliar with the expression he used and was, therefore, none the worse for hearing it.

However, she took the interruption as a reminder that wallowing in self-pity, even in the privacy of her own mind, was not the Swanburne way. Instead, she cheered herself with the idea that she might soon have three pupils of her own to teach, to mold, and to imbue with the sterling values she felt so fortunate to have acquired at school. If each child came equipped with a pony, so much the better!

And then, abruptly, they were out of the trees and coming over the crest of a hill, passing between great stone pillars that framed a tall and forbidding black iron gate.

Once through the gate, she could finally see before her the house known as Ashton Place.

The coachman was right: Ashton Place was a very grand house indeed. It was perfectly situated in the sheltered lowland ahead and big as a palace, with the lovely symmetrical proportions of the ancient Greek architecture Penelope had so often admired in her history books at Swanburne.

From the hilltop vantage of the gate Penelope could see that the surrounding property numbered not in the hundreds, nor the thousands, but in the tens of thousands of acres...in fact, the forest she had just passed through was part of the estate. There were orchards and farms and groups of other, much smaller houses as well. These were the cottages in which the servants lived, and where the blacksmith, tinsmith, and tanner plied their trades. There was even a smokehouse for the curing of fresh bacon, ham, sausage, and all sorts of meat-based delicacies that would nowadays be purchased in a supermarket, uninterestingly wrapped in plastic.

And Penelope noted with delight: There was a barn big enough to house a whole herd of ponies, with their long, lovingly brushed tails and red ribbons braided prettily through their manes...oh, how Penelope wished the job were already hers! But the interview was still ahead, and she resolved to keep her wits about her.

The driveway approaching the main entrance curved around formal gardens of great beauty, now tinged with the first brushstrokes of autumn color. The coachman brought the carriage straight to the front of the house and assisted his passenger brusquely to the ground. A kind-faced, square-built woman of middle age was waiting to greet the new arrival.

"Miss Lumley, I presume?"

Penelope nodded.

"I'm Mrs. Clarke, the head housekeeper. Thank goodness you've arrived! Lady Constance has been asking for you every quarter hour the whole blessed day. Don't make such a stricken face, dear. You're not late. Lady Constance tends to be impatient, that's all it is. But look at you...you're hardly more than a child yourself! Jasper, see to her bag, please!"

The carpetbag was whisked inside by a young man who appeared from nowhere. As for the trunk of books, which the coachman was struggling to lift..."Leave that in the carriage for now," Mrs. Clarke directed. She jangled the large ring of keys she wore at her waist and gave Penelope an appraising look. "Until we see how things go."

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place
Book I: The Mysterious Howling
. Copyright © by Maryrose Wood. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Maryrose Wood is the author of the first five books (so far!) in this series about the Incorrigible children and their governess. These books may be considered works of fiction, which is to say, the true bits and the untrue bits are so thoroughly mixed together that no one should be able to tell the difference. This process of fabrication is fully permitted under the terms of the author's Poetic License, which is one of her most prized possessions.

Maryrose's other qualifications for writing these tales include a scandalous stint as a professional thespian, many years as a private governess to two curious and occasionally rambunctious pupils, and whatever literary insights she may have gleaned from living in close proximity to a clever but disobedient dog.

Jon Klassen grew up in Niagara Falls, Canada, and now lives in Los Angeles, California. He is the Caldecott Award-winning author and illustrator of I Want My Hat Back and This Is Not My Hat, as well as the illustrator of Sam and Dave Dig a Hole and Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett; The Dark by Lemony Snicket; House Held Up by Trees by Ted Kooser; Cats' Night Out by Caroline Stutson; and the first three books in the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series.

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The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place Series, Book II) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is hard to say too little or too much for this book is a must buy and to remember. The three Incorrigables are loving and humorous! One thing is that new friends and old teachers can be helpful. If you are wondering if you want to buy thrs book, look further. If you are courious see what I have to say. BUY AND ENJOY THE BOOK! Read the book and you will see the meaning of my words. If the book is noot suitible for in the first few chapters, keep reading! This book is a truely aamazing story and a happy cliff-hanger!!! Trust me. Read and see. Tell me what you think about it when your done. I want biig boned sentences with lots of details!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the first book so id thlnk id love the 2nd
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have already read the first book! I really want to read the next book so that I can learn more about Penelope and the three children's life! I really want to know who it is living in the wall. Is it a wolf? A cat?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How many pages are thre
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To be raised by wolves would be wierd. Not being able to talk to anyone else and having to eat raw meat. Ewwwwww!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
when i read the first i knew i just had to buy the 2nd one. I totally give this a A++++
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This wad an amazing book it has alot of detail and agreat plot. Compliments to Maryrose Wood and Jon Klassen for a wonderful book and pictures.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome!!!!!!!!!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love how the kids have progressed from the first book and what a vacation!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Slow at first, but then the book speeds up. If you get bored do not stop reading! Great new characters too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is worth every penny that you pay! So wonderfully written with a great amount of "wow" moments! Great bok!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
silvia sorensen More than 1 year ago
I've thoroughly enjoyed the first two in the series.The language is well chosen and expressions explained. We received it as a gift for my six year old son. He was bored with the early chapters of the first book and Iam glad, because as an adopted child he might have found th rest of the book rather terrfying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kaitlin Steiger More than 1 year ago
Awsome book! I read them all and loved tthem! Hope athor writes more.