Reviews provided by Syndetics
School Library Journal Review
Gr 5-8-This is a thoroughly delightful reading of this title in Lemony Snicket's popular series (HarperCollins, 2001). Using the well-known, "it takes a village to raise a child," as the impetus for the story, Snicket weaves a macabre and humorous tale about the Beaudelaire orphans who are adopted by the Volunteers Fighting Disease (V.F.D). residents. Those who are familiar with this series, whether in print or audio format, will continue to revel in the storyline with its cruel twists of fate, tongue-in-cheek humor, and outstanding narration by Tim Curry. Those new to the series will be caught up in the outstanding narration that helps listeners visualize these dreadful and pathetic characters in their dark, Dickensonian settings. His vocal impersonations are gems. The voice of the curmudgeonly banker, Mr. Poe, brings the history of these orphans alive with his nasal, elongated sounds. The sputtering of his intense coughing fits creates the dry, dusty, and dismal life in which Violet, Klaus, and Sunny find themselves. Edgar, the handyman who is in charge of the reluctant heroes, has a flat, American sound that elicits his straightforward and honest approach in opposition to surrounding voices.-Tina Hudak, St. Bernard of Clairbaux School, Riverdale Park, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr. 3-6. The Ersatz Elevator, "Book the Sixth," in A Series of Unfortunate Events, opens with the hapless Baudelaire orphans, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, climbing up very dark stairs to the penthouse, the home of their new guardians, Mr. and Mrs. Squalor. Genial Mr. Squalor seems genuinely delighted to have the children. Mrs. Squalor is a different matter: her life is ruled by "what's in" (aqueous martinis, pinstripe suits, and orphans) and "what's out" (alcoholic martinis, light, and elevators). Mr. Squalor's life is ruled by Mrs. Squalor. Children will enjoy the humorous barbs aimed at Mrs. Squalor and her ilk. The plot thickens with the reappearance of the nefarious Count Olaf, first in disguise to do his dastardly deeds and then unmasked to sneer at the Baudelaires. "Book the Seventh," The Vile Village, pokes wicked fun at the saying "It takes a village to raise a child" and at aphorisms in general: "The quoting of an aphorism, like the angry barking or a dog or the smell of overcooked broccoli, rarely indicates that something helpful is about to happen." Sure enough, the Baudelaires are soon adopted by an entire town whose inhabitants look upon the orphans as free labor. The Baudelaires struggle to solve the riddling messages that could lead them to rescue the Quagmire triplets, while trying to avoid being burned at the stake. Series fans will enjoy the quick pace, entertaining authorial asides, and over-the-top characterizations, and Brett Helquist's droll pencil drawings will add to their reading pleasure. --Carolyn Phelan
Horn Book Review
The orphans, still trying to evade Count Olaf, are adopted by a town that believes in the motto It takes a village.... But before long, the villagers are ready to burn Violet, Klaus, and Sunny at the stake. They escape to the Heimlich Hospital, where Olaf and his cohorts nearly perform a grotesque operation on Violet. Though formulaic, the darkly humorous volumes show continuing character development. [Review covers these Series of Unfortunate Events titles: [cf2]The Hostile Hospital[cf1] and [cf2]The Vile Village[cf1].] From HORN BOOK Spring 2002, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.