Some parents are so preoccupied with work that they do not have time to raise their own children. That is why Ms. Rapscott founded her school for daughters of busy parents. They must simply mail their girls in the boxes provided to Ms. Rapscott’s lighthouse, and she will raise them herself. At least, that is what the mothers and fathers of Bea, Mildred, Fay, Annabelle and Dahlia decide to do.
All the girls, except Dahlia, whose box seems hopelessly lost, arrive in a state of confusion and perfectly justifiable dismay. Surely being with their own parents, even if they are ignored, is better than being shipped off to a perfect stranger whose staff consists of two corgis. (Who better to supervise young girls than a pair of herding dogs?) Ms. Rapscott’s strict structure leaves no room for exceptions, and the girls soon find they have no choice but to follow instructions. Their activities focus primarily on finding the missing Dahlia, though Ms. Rapsott’s eccentric approach does incorporate some lessons about kindness, loyalty and friendship.
While Ms. Rapscott manages to help the girls overcome bad habits, such as watching too much TV, the premise of the story is rather offensive. Yes, there are neglectful parents in the world who fail to properly raise their children. However, it would seem that sending them off to a boarding school run by a superstitious woman who serves ice cream and birthday cake for breakfast is not the solution. It is a pity that a message of personal responsibility and teamwork is couched in such a faulty premise.
A former teacher, Jennifer Minicus is a full-time wife and mother living in Ridgewood, NJ.