The Wide Window: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 3

Common Sense Media says

The least subtle book thus far in the series.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The children steal a sailboat from evil Olaf, then set out in a storm.


Though presented as farce, Olaf's violence is real. He pushes Aunt Josephine to her watery grave, for example, and menaces the children almost nonstop. Olaf's return, especially his confrontation with the children at sea, involving an attack by a school

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Snicket's ability to pile crisis upon catastrophe upon bum luck without the story collapsing under the weight of its relentless misfortune is brilliant, and a surefire attention-catcher.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Welcome back the luckless Baudelaire brood, three orphans who all too often feel "the chill of doom fall over their hearts." Lemony Snicket's highly polished and tragically comic series finds the children once again frustrating the awful Olaf's schemes to steal their fortune, after he has cruelly dealt with their latest ill-qualified caregiver.

Is it any good?


This is the least subtle book thus far in Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events. Rather than let ideas of right and wrong quietly percolate up through his story, as he has in the previous two volumes, he spells them out as though his audience is dimwitted. "They understood that Aunt Josephine was more concerned with grammatical mistakes than with saving the lives of three children. They understood that she was so wrapped up in her own fears that she had not given a thought to what might have happened to them." Snicket gets preachy and his readers get a lecture.

Nevertheless, THE WIDE WINDOW has plenty going for it, including some of the most exciting scenes in the series so far. High drama is produced by a small sailboat in the middle of a hurricane, a gratifying example of code-breaking, a heart-stopping attack by a swarm of leeches, and the treacherous plots hatched by Olaf that must be artfully countered one after the other by the children. And there is the pleasingly black humor that is Snicket's earmark, served up by the grave narrator.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about tone and the darkly humorous appeal of the books in the series. Why do readers find the adventures of the Baudelaire orphans funny although they're constantly plagued by misfortune?

Book details

Author:Lemony Snicket
Illustrator:Brett Helquist
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:January 1, 1999
Number of pages:210

This review of The Wide Window: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 3 was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
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  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
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Teen, 13 years old Written bynickchick15004 December 31, 2010


LOVE the series!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written bySuddenlySeymour April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


I am a HUGE Lemony Snicket fan and I DEFINETELY recommend this book, it is hilarious, but a little bit predictable.
Teen, 14 years old Written bynintendo_freak_13 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


We last left the three orphans watching Uncle Monty's reptiles being taken away, not a very cliff-hanging ending. Fan's of the series will want to move onto the next book though: The Wide Window. The three orphans move in with very cautious Aunt Josephine, who's house is dangerously built above Lake Lachrymose. A catchy storyline. I strongly recommend it.


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