A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the humor in this series is of the dark, bleak variety, and many kids don't get the joke -- they just see it as an adventure. Few books are seen as differently by adults and kids as this series. You'll probably enjoy it almost as much as your children -- but for entirely different reasons.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
The Baudelaire orphans -- Klaus, Violet, and Sunny -- are cast up on a desert (but not deserted) island with their nemesis, Count Olaf, and their friend, the very pregnant Kit Snicket. There they find a group of people, led by the mysterious Ishmael ("Call me Ish"), who are determined to stay apart and safe from the world's troubles, and who are the first people besides the Baudelaires who seem to be able to see through Olaf.
But everything eventually washes up on this island, and not only is Olaf still scheming, but the island is intimately related to the Baudelaires' parents and history. Even Ishmael is not what he seems. Much will finally be revealed -- and much will not.
Is it any good?
Fans of the A Series of Unfortunate Events books will eat up THE END, and those new to the series won't understand much of it. Adults love the mordant humor. Kids love the melodramatic adventure.
Part mystery, part Dickensian melodrama, with a few touches of fantasy, all served up with a sort of glum hilarity, A Series of Unfortunate Events is like Oliver Twist narrated by Eeyore. With frequent witty explanations of vocabulary, extended cockeyed metaphors, and much tongue-in-cheek woe and misery, it's the kids' version of a mock-tragedy, a literary jape that even those who don't get the joke can enjoy. Anyone worried about the verbal and literary acuity of today's generation can relax -- judging by the popularity of this smart series, something must be going right after all.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the dilemmas in which the Baudelaire children keep finding themselves.
How have they been forced to commit acts they regret?
Did they have other choices? Are the things they've done really bad?
Is it possible for good people with good intentions to do bad things?
Also, is it possible to be safe from the turmoils of the world? Is it desirable?