Lemony Snicket – The Wide Window

The Wide Window

After escaping from the clutches of Count Olaf yet again, but forced to leave Uncle Monty’s house by his unfortunate demise, the Baudelaire children find themselves on Damocles dock, being put into a taxi by Mr Poe to take them to their Aunt Josephine’s house overlooking Lake Lachrymose. The children are not hopeful that she will be a better guardian than Uncle Monty, and unfortunately it’s looks like they may be right.

Because Josephine is frightened of absolutely anything. The door mat, the door knobs, the telephone, the cooker, everything. So much so that their meal on the first night in Josephine’s home is cold cucumber soup, and they have to put a pile of tins in front of their bedroom doors so they will know if a burglar enters the house.

But the siblings can handle this, as long as they are safe from the clutches of Count Olaf, after all, there’s a great big library overlooking the lake and they still have each other. But alas, not. Aunt Josephine is forced to take them into town to get supplies to stock up for the coming hurricane, and there she meets a man called Captain Sham. But poor Aunt Josephine won’t listen to the children’s protests that he is actually Count Olaf – after all, the Captain has a wooden leg, and Count Olaf definitely did not!

When the children wake up the next morning to find a hole in the library window and a note apparently from Josephine saying that she entrusts their care to Captain Sham, it looks like Count Olaf may finally get his hands on the children.

But the children won’t give up that easily, and they come through with ingenious ways to escape from this horrible horrible man.

I LOVE this book, and not just because the ‘Lachrymose Leeches’ have been a running joke in our house for the 15+ years since we first read it together. These are only short books, but very enjoyable and great for reminiscing!

My Rating: 5/5
Year Published: 2000
Number of Pages: 214
Format: Hardback
Date Read: 1st February 2017 – 2nd February 2017
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.91
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Lemony Snicket – The Reptile Room

The Reptile Room

Before reading this book, I looked at some of the reviews on Goodreads and it seems like a lot of people complaining that this book (and the series) are quite similar to the first book. Well, its a children’s book and the whole series is devoted to Count Olaf trying to get his hands on the Baudelaire children, so obviously they’re going to be slightly similar.

But I have no problem with that. You know kind-of what the plot is going to be but it’s completely different in execution to the others. I actually love how the author can dream up such wild plots for his books, he must have an incredible mind.

In this book, the Baudelaire children have been shipped off to their Uncle Montgomery’s house. He is a herpetologist (which means he studies reptiles), and he seems to be the perfect guardian for the children. But when his new assistant Stephano arrives, Violet, Klaus and Sunny immediately know that this isn’t Stephano, it’s Count Olaf.

But of course, they’re only children and they are very distressed by the death of their parents, so no-one will listen to them. And this obviously doesn’t go very well, in fact some may say that it was disastrous for Uncle Monty.

Another great read, I love reading about how the children can get themselves out of each situation with their inventive genius, their bookish knowledge and their very strong teeth!

My Rating: 5/5
Year Published: 1999
Number of Pages: 192
Format: Hardback
Date Read: 22nd January 2017 – 28th January 2017
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.94
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Lemony Snicket – The Bad Beginning

The Bad Beginning

These books take me back to my childhood, we read them as a family as they came out, but I’m not sure now that I ever actually reached the end of the series. As the Netflix series has just been released (which is great by the way), I thought I’d take the chance to read them all again.

The Baudelaire children might be the unluckiest children in the world, and we are introduced to them in this first book of the thirteen. We’re also introduced to scheming Count Olaf and his cronies, and of course the hapless Mr Poe.

A lot of the reviews of this book on Goodreads seem to be quite negative about the way that this book is written and that it’s quite patronising (that means that it talks down to you), with the use of describing the meanings of words mid-sentence.

But I think it’s done quite naturally through the book and I think these people may have forgotten that these are children’s books, and this way of writing means that the author can introduce younger readers to bigger words. I used to have to write down all the words I didn’t know so that I could ask my mum what they meant later, so this would have been a relief for her!

Saying that they are children’s books, the actual plot is quite adult – for example in this book Count Olaf tries to take control of the Baudelaire fortune by marrying Violet, the oldest child (but still only 14 years old). But it’s done in quite a light-hearted way so that although as a child you would feel the peril, it’s not horrifying!

I’m so looking forward to re-reading all these books!

My Rating: 5/5
Year Published: 1999
Number of Pages: 162
Format: Hardback
Date Read: 14th January 2017 – 21st January 2017
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.88
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