The Wide Window: Or, Disappearance! (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 3)

Pinned on August 8, 2013 at 10:36 pm by Alberta King

The Wide Window: Or, Disappearance! (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 3)

Dear Reader,

If you have not read anything about the Baudelaire orphans, then before you read even one more sentence, you should know this: Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are kindhearted and quick–witted, but their lives, I am sorry to say, are filled with bad luck and misery. All of the stories about these three children are unhappy and wretched, and this one may be the worst of them all.If you haven’t got the stomach for a story that includes a hurricane, a signalling device, hungry leeches, cold cucumber soup, a horrible villain, and a doll named Pretty Penny, then this book will probably fill you with despair.I will continue to record these tragic tales, for that is what I do. You, however, should decide for yourself whether you can possibly endure this miserable story.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket

Ages 10+

In The Bad Beginning, things, well, begin badly for the three Baudelaire orphans. And sadly, events only worsen in The Reptile Room. In the third in Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, there is still no hope on the horizon for these poor children. Their adventures are exciting and memorable, but, as the author points out, “exciting and memorable like being chased by a werewolf through a field of thorny bushes at midnight with nobody around to help you.”

This story begins when the orphans are being escorted by the well-meaning Mr. Poe to yet another distant relative who has agreed to take them in since their parents were killed in a horrible fire. Aunt Josephine, their new guardian, is their second cousin’s sister-in-law, and she is afraid of everything. Her house (perched precariously on a cliff above Lake Lachrymose) is freezing because she is afraid of the radiator exploding, she eats cold cucumber soup because she’s afraid of the stove, and she doesn’t answer the telephone due to potential electrocution dangers. Her greatest joy in life is grammar, however, and when it comes to the proper use of the English language, she is fearless.

But just when she should be the most fearful–when Count Olaf creeps his way back to find the Baudelaire orphans and steal their fortune–she somehow lets her guard down. Once again, it is up to Violet, Klaus, and Sunny to get themselves out of danger. Will they succeed? We haven’t the stomach to tell you. (Ages 9 to 12) –Karin Snelson


John Cassels says:

For fans of Gorey (who need to fill the Harry Potter wait) If you enjoy the dark humor of Edward Gorey, this series will probably enchant. The characters are intelligent and sympathetic. However, while the books may be a tad bit dark for some younger readers, portions of this series are too simplistic for more mature readers. Snickett often writes in definitions for “big” words used. When the definitions stay in context, they’re amusing and maintain the atmosphere. When the definitions are more dictionary like, they distract. The Series of Unfortunate Events, nonetheless, is a great series that children of all ages can enjoy. If anything, kids will sympathize with the Baudelaires frustration with the adults around them. For a turn on the lighter side – I recommend Gail Levine’s “Princess Tales” series.

Anonymous says:

Snicket’s best, so far As far as “darkness” or “inappropriateness” for youngsters goes, I tried reading *The Bad Beginning* to my 7-year-old a while ago and he begged off after one chapter, saying that it made him feel too sad; but the other day he took it off the shelf and — on his own — is now half-way through “Book the Second” of this series, *The Reptile Room.* I’m happy to report that he has a real treat in store when he turns to this volume of the Baudelaire orphan’s adventures, for it is easily the best of the lot. Longer than either of its predecessors, it is also more relaxed and assured — not that the pace is slack (far from it), it’s simply that Snicket is more at home with his bag of tricks and is beginning to manipulate his deliberately limited, muted palette with a master’s verve. Fearful, grammar-haunted Aunt Josephine is a wonderful, painfully funny addition to the improbable constellation of distant “family” through which it is the Baudelaire’s sad fate to pass, and her second most notable quirk bears an interesting relationship to Snicket’s own frequent definitions of “big words.” This last feature seems to bother a lot of people, but I think these folks are trying to bully something which is primarily an *aesthetic* device of great flexibility into an overly-rigid pedagogical frame. These books aren’t nasty things which are — like certain exilirs –nevertheless good for you, they’re wonderfully entertaining works of verbal art, and if one had to troll their depths for messages, one would find, cumulatively, that these have more to do with self-reliance and competence than with any of the hideous treatment the Baudelaire’s endure or the corpses that are left in their wake.

Anonymous says:

Cleverly written dark, funny tale I will agree with the comparison to Edward Gorey, this is definitly a great series for fans of his dark hilarious work. I work in a book store and this series has lately been our latest addiction. Sad & dismel yes, but the clever wrting by Mr Snicket keeps the reader from despair. Wonderful quick reads for the “adults” who grew up with a black sense of humor.

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