Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Reptile Room - Lemony Snicket



The Reptile Room
A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the Second
Lemony Snicket
HarperCollins

Young Adult

If you read Book the First, you know that the Baudelaire orphans, Violet (14,) Klaus (12,) and infant Sunny, have very bad luck, indeed. Their parents died in a terrible fire, and they were sent to live with the horrible Count Olaf. They managed to escape, and now they’re on their way to a new home. Of course, the route to their new home begins on Lousy Lane and crosses over the Grim River.

Dr. Montgomery Montgomery is a herpetologist, which means he studies snakes and reptiles. The orphans don’t know what to expect, so imagine their delight when he greets them at the door with coconut cake, and asks them to call him Uncle Monty. In a week, they’ll all be leaving on a grand adventure to Peru so that Uncle Monty can collect more specimens. While they’re waiting for the new assistant, Stephano, to arrive, the Baudelaires help Uncle Monty prepare for the journey. Violet tests and repairs traps, Klaus reads about the terrain in Peru, and Sunny bites rope into useful lengths.

When Stephano arrives, the children immediately recognize him as the evil Count Olaf. They try to tell Uncle Monty, but he’s too excited about the trip, and Count Olaf has said he would do terrible things if they told. Since this is not a happy book, it should be obvious that things do not turn out well for the children. But, being the smart children that they are, they manage to work together to escape Count Olaf again.

This series is full of dark humor, unlucky events, and interesting words. Intended for ages 10 and up, grownups of all sizes will enjoy the stories and the wit, as well. Because bad things happen to the children (and the author does warn the reader, so you can’t blame him) very sensitive children and overly delicate adults may want to avoid these books and read something nice and happy. For the rest of us, these are highly entertaining chapter books and perfect for sharing with the whole family.

Rating: 8
Reissue
ISBN# 0-06-440767-5 (hardcover)

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