The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand
Victoria is the best student, or she would be if it hadn’t been for that ‘B’ in music class. Her best, and seemingly only, friend is named Lawrence. One day Lawrence disappears. A lot of kids disappear actually. The parents start to act funny. They don’t really care where their children have gone to. Victoria starts to poke around. She begins to suspect Mrs. Cavendish from the children’s home, but she doesn’t have any evidence. When she goes to the house to speak to Mrs. Cavendish, she forgets why she was there, as most people do.
Victoria speaks to a couple of other people who seem to suspect something is going on. One of them soon disappears in a flurry of black beetles. Victoria knows she must be careful. Several people tell her just to be careful and be good. It would all pass, but Victoria is tired of all of that.
Soon she finds herself taken into the Cavendish home herself. Things are perfect there, or expected to be. Mrs. Cavendish takes children and makes them into what they’re supposed to be, according to some. The children either leave, or they don’t. Victoria finally finds out what happens to the children and it’s quite ghastly. Something in Mrs. Cavendish’s own home works against her though and Victoria learns a valuable lesson–not everyone is supposed to fit into a mold.
What I liked
This book is creepy and I kind of liked it. I mean, I think it could be scary to some children. I liked the whole lesson that Victoria learns. She thinks that Lawrence needs straightened up since he wears his shirt untucked and he likes music. Lawrence doesn’t need straightening up. That’s just Lawrence and Lawrence is special for his untucked shirt and musical ability.
I don’t like the idea of children being stamped to be all alike, nor adults for that matter. We are not all supposed to look the same, or act the same, or talk to the same, or have the same thoughts. We’re all supposed to be individuals. We’re not supposed to be just like Bob or just like Janice. We’re supposed to be ourselves.
It’s like that episode of Spongebob where Spongebob heeds Squidward’s suggestions and becomes normal. Squidward and everyone else find that they don’t like the normal Spongebob. They like Spongebob as he was, despite how annoying he could be.
What’s that saying…”Variety is the spice of life”?
What I didn’t like
Although I liked the creepy factor, some of the stuff in the book was just gross. Gross! It’s a little severe for something a kid would read, definitely more of a YA book than a children’s book. I don’t want to say what happens or what Victoria finds out, but it’s pretty awful. It’s seriously like something out of a Stephen King book. Do not read this to your small child as a bed-time book.
Be careful when you wish someone would be normal.
Looking at today’s school systems, do you think children are pressured to be all alike?
At the end, do you think Victoria probably learned to cut some people some slack? Do you think she continued her perfectionist ways?