Reviews provided by Syndetics
School Library Journal Review
Gr 4-7-In this fifth entry in the saga of the three Baudelaire children, the siblings are sent to a boarding school where they are tormented because they are orphans. There is the usual array of stupid/evil adults including the ridiculous Vice Principal Nero, who mimics everything that Klaus and Violet say and employs baby Sunny as his secretary because she is too young to attend class. Brown-nosing brats like Carmelita Spats make the children's lives even more miserable. The ending is a cliff-hanger as the evil Count Olaf, disguised as Coach Genghis, the new gym teacher, drives off with the orphans' only friends. In these days of Harry Potter, this book is a pesky nuisance, with little plot to drive it, situations that fall short of being interesting or off-the-wall, and cardboard characters. The author strains to be eccentric and his constant interruptions in the narrative to define a word or phrase are jarring at best.-Ann Cook, Winter Park Public Library, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr. 4^-6. The Beaudelaire orphans enroll as students at Prufrock Academy in the fifth Series of Unfortunate Events book. The Academy, run by nasty, mimicking Vice Principal Nero, is shaped like a large tombstone, and the perpetually unlucky Violet, Klaus, and Sunny must stay in a tin shack with biting crabs, dripping tan fungus, and green walls decorated with tiny green hearts. Series followers will be keeping their eye out for evil Count Olaf in one of his disguises, and the author doesn't disappoint. Snicket once again uses comical word definitions in the text ("the phrase `impressionable age' here means `ten and eight years old, respectively'), and just when things seem a little too predictable, Count Olaf makes off with the Beaudelaire's new friends, the Quagmire orphans, so setting things up for book six. Kids not familiar with the previous books will also enjoy this. --Susan Dove Lempke
Horn Book Review
The three Baudelaire orphans and their new friends, the two (sic) Quagmire triplets, endure the indignities of the Prufrock Preparatory School, while contending with fiddle-playing Vice Principal Nero and their old nemesis Count Olaf. This episode features entertaining villains and intriguing hints about the orphans' past--but the distinctively peevish voice of the narrator grows increasingly one-noted. From HORN BOOK Spring 2001, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.