Things to Read - Lemony Snicket

untitled (8 of 12).jpg

For those of you who see us around the neighborhood, you may have noticed that lately the whole family looks a little worse for the wear - messy hair (even messier than usual), under eye bags, a few extra yawns throughout the day. This is because a new family addiction has surfaced in the last few weeks, making bedtime a challenge - Lemony Snicket has entered the house.

Have any of you read these? Despite loving well-written picture books, I'm usually not a huge fan of children's chapter books, as demonstrated by the fact that I'm the only adult I know who really doesn't understand what's so great about Harry Potter. Yet I find the Lemony Snicket series completely addictive. The plot, on the other hand, is awful and I mean that in the best sense possible. The books center on three siblings - the Baudelaire children - who lose their parents and home in a fire. As the children have no close family, in book 1 they are sent to live with a distant relative, Count Olaf, a cruel and horrendous man. Luckily, the children all work together to save themselves - Violet - the oldest sibling - likes to invent things; Klauss - the middle child - is a voracious reader; and Sunny - the infant - bites everything in site. Utilizing these chosen "superpowers", the siblings manage to extract themselves from numerous terrible situations. We are currently reading book 4 of the series and, so far, every volume follows the same basic formula - Count Olaf concocts some awful plan in an effort to steal the children's fortune, eventually the children outsmart him, and then he escapes. If this seems monotonous, I assure you, it is not.

Of course, the problem with the books is they're scary. and dark. and sad (really sad). Throughout book 1 P often cried, making me question the whole enterprise. But for all of the terribleness, the books are also incredibly empowering - F reads more than ever now because she's convinced that knowledge can actually save lives. P has become somewhat fascinated with how things work. Both girls have told their friends about Lemony Snicket and used the characters to create playground games. (T, on the other hand, usually falls asleep while I'm reading and only vaguely understands what is going on).

Maybe I'm overstating somewhat, but I honestly think that reading these books has made my children see themselves as strong. They now realize that despite living in an adult world, kids can actually create their own fate. (Okay, so maybe I am overstating somewhat). But as an adult the books have also effected my worldview. Society places such a strong emphasis on protecting our children from every conceivable situation, that sometimes we forget that the most important role a parent can play is empowering children to protect themselves. Hopefully my kids will never face a fate as awful as the Baudelaires, but if reading about such things encourages learning and discovery, then I think that's pretty awesome. Plus, I love how the siblings always operate as a team - rarely fighting, protecting each other.

Anyways, we're all quite addicted. The series consists of 13 books and the narrator continues to warn readers that things will never go well for the Badelaires. But still, we can't stop reading . . .


  1. I find these book reviews so helpful! I was wondering when would be a good age to read Lemony Snicket and now I know. We are currently enjoying George's Secret Key to the Universe due to your review. If you haven't read The Wizard of Oz books we can recommend those to your family.

  2. Thank you so so much! I love comments like this. The girls and I were just talking about what we would read when we finished Lemony Snicket - the Wizard of Oz sounds perfect! Thank you!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...