The Lost Children is an oddly haunting book. Here is a trailer which is worth watching as an introduction to the story but it does make it all slightly more scary than the actual book.
Josephine lives a strange life with her distant father. All people in their community are forced to wear gloves. "How did this silly law get passed in the first place? It happened one night many years ago when Mr. Russing was in the middle of a heated game of five card stud with the city mayor. .. when he won, he decided to forgo his monetary winnings and demand that the mayor pass a new law on his behalf. ... Mr. Russing was the only man who manufactured gloves in the town, so one can imagine how much this law improved his business."
This explains why Josephine owns 387 pairs of gloves but it does not explain why her father ignores her completely. One day out in the garden she meets a mysterious boy. Later she follows him to a strange world ruled by a tyrannical master and two vile monsters called The Brothers. These are the most loathsome of creatures. "They had thick coats of what looked like black fur running from their foreheads down their backs and into their tails. But as the sun hit the creatures, she saw that it wasn't fur at all. It was more like spikes or quills. ... Pointed ears stuck out of square heads. Each creature had beady yellow eyes and a muzzle that ended in a piglike nose. But most horrifying and terrible of all was ... these animals had no mouths." Fergus has come from an orphanage in another place and time. Following him Josephine meets Ida, another orphan, and the three children set out to uncover the truth about the Master and the fate of many other children who have also disappeared.
Here is a good review if you need more details of the plot. You can read an extract from the book here. I was wondering how I came to buy this book but now I see it was reviewed by my friend Mr K and once again I totally agree with his comments. If I had to label this book I would say it is a combination of Peter Pan, Great Expectations, Jumanji and The Pied Piper of Hamlin.