Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Wide Window - Lemony Snicket



The Wide Window
A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the Third
Lemony Snicket
HarperCollins

Young Adult

Note: The best thing to do is start reading about the Baudelaire children’s terrible and sad adventures at THE BAD BEGINNING. If you haven’t read the first books, this review contains spoilers. You have been warned.

The children, Violet (14,) Klaus (12,) and baby Sunny have just arrived at Lake Lachrymose via the Fickle Ferry. They’ve come to live with a very, very distant relative, Aunt Josephine Anwhistle. Since they’re arriving during cold weather, the lake is dark and freezing. It’s also filled with leeches, but the leeches live there year-round. And the small town around the lake is nearly deserted. But they’re not staying in the town; they’re headed to Aunt Josephine’s house, which is perched on top of a very steep hill, overlooking the lake.

She’s very nice, but Aunt Josephine is afraid of everything. She shows them around the house, pointing out the endless dangers, including the welcome mat, the radiator, the stove, and several doorknobs. And she can’t move, because she’s afraid of realtors. The best part of the house is the library, filled with books on Aunt Josephine’s favorite subject in the world: grammar. The library also has a huge, wide window that gives a perfect view of the lake.

While grocery shopping for food that doesn’t need to be cooked, the children and Aunt Josephine meet Captain Sham. The Baudelaires see through his terrible disguise instantly. It’s Count Olaf! Tragically, Aunt Josephine is fooled. That night, there’s a crash in the library. When the children arrive, they find the wide window broken, and a note from Aunt Josephine, saying that Captain Sham should take care of the children. Being intelligent, they immediately realize that Aunt Josephine would never have left this note filled with grammar mistakes. They have to find their aunt during a hurricane to escape the loathsome Count Olaf again.

On the back of each book, the author makes sure to warn readers that these are not happy, sunshiny books. It’s true; they’re not. But there’s nothing terribly scary in them, either, in case you’re worried about that. And you’ll learn some new and interesting words that you can use in polite conversation without getting grounded, too. These chapter books are intended for ages 10 and up and are perfect for kids and adults to read together.

Rating: 8
Reissue
ISBN# 0-06-440768-3 (hardcover)

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