Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Thursday, February 21, 2013

Plot Summary:
The story of Lemony Snicket begins in the Hemlock Tearoom and the Stationary Shop. While waiting for his train, with his parents, he recieved a note from his new chaperone. After recieving her note, Snicket climbed through a window and into into her roadster. After a three minute battle of semantics and a tea cup fill of laudanum, Snicket learned her name: S. Theodora Markson. Just when he thought he was making progress with this formidable woman, things become more complicated because she knows things that no one else would know. Although Snicket believes he is traveling to a location outside the city, he finds himself in a place time has forgotten: Stain'd by the Sea. When one thinks of the sea, he or she would think of a large body of water, sand, birds, and people, but neither are there. In fact, all there is ground up rocks, shells, a forest of seaweed, and a ghost town. After being told to put on a mask to help him breathe under water, he learns that this place used to be a busy place that thrived on its largest and greatest export: ink. Unfortunately, the ink is an endangered resource that requires a drill in the shape of a ink pen to collect ink from the giant squids that leave beneath the surface. As Snicket digests all of this information, he learns that his mission is to assist Theodora recover a stolen item called the Bombinating Beast. Apparently, this creature is a legend in these parts that was conquered by Lady Mallahan, whose family maybe responsible for the theft. The problem is that the statue is not at all extraordinary and nor is it valuable. When Snicket meets Moxie Mallahan, she leads him right to he statue, which had been collecting dust in the attic of the Mallahan light house. The mystery is that the person who hired Theodora and Snicket is Mrs. Sallis, whose family had been friends/foes of the Mallahans. Not sure what to believe, Snicket and Moxie join forces to figure out the truth behind this statue and why that every single adult in this town is complete weirdo especially S. Theodra Markson. Just when things could not get anymore complicated, Snicket volunteers to help Ellington Feint find her father who could also be involved with the disappearance an reappearance of the Bombinating Beast. Oh no Toto, we are definitely no longer in Kansas any more...

Critical Evaluation:
All I can say is the Lemony Snicket has done it again! In this tipsy turvey mystery is a young sleuth who embarks on his first solo mission. Despite the fact he has chaperone she is useless and quite the character. Granted, she is not very good, he lack of knowledge, she is the only adult to express any concern for the young man. In many ways, she reminds me of Aunt Josephene, a character Snicket fans are quite familia with. However, the rest of the adults are clueless and absent, which conveys that they have a hard time seeing the bigger picture. As for the other characters, Moxie is just adorable because she really is the record keeper in this story. Lemony is the classic sleuth who isn't afraid to make a move, but he wouldn't be as successful without his sidekick. As for the second plot twist, Ellington's story is a great segue way into a sequel, which readers will be craving. The humor is spot on an I just love that Snicket takes time to introduce large words to no express his true feelings, but allow readers to build their vocabulary. All in all, this is a fun story that will become an amazing series, but, beware, readers with not be able to put them down!

Information about the Author:
According to his website:
Lemony Snicket was born before you were, and is likely to die before you as well. His family has roots in a part of the country which is now underwater, and his childhood was spent in the relative splendor of the Snicket Villa which has since become a factory, a fortress and a pharmacy and is now, alas, someone else's villa. To the untrained eye, Mr. Snicket's hometown would not appear to be filled with secrets. Untrained eyes have been wrong before.
The aftermath of the scandal was swift, brutal and inaccurately reported in the periodicals of the day. It is true, however, that Mr. Snicket was stripped of several awards by the reigning authorities, including Honorable Mention, the Grey Ribbon and First Runner Up. The High Council reached a convenient if questionable verdict and Mr. Snicket found himself in exile.
Though his formal training was chiefly in rhetorical analysis, he has spent the last several eras researching the travails of the Baudelaire orphans. This project, being published serially by HarperCollins, takes him to the scenes of numerous crimes, often during the offseason. Eternally pursued and insatiably inquisitive, a hermit and a nomad, Mr. Snicket wishes you nothing but the best.

Tween Mysteries

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 4 & up

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Awards & Recognition:

 "[With] gothic wackiness, linguistic play and literary allusions....Fans of the Series of Unfortunate Events will be in heaven picking out tidbit references to the tridecalogy, but readers who've yet to delve into that well of sadness will have no problem enjoying this weird and witty yarn." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review )

"Full of Snicket's trademark droll humor and maddeningly open-ended, this will have readers clamoring for volume two." (Publishers Weekly, starred review )

 "Full of Snicket's characteristic wit and word play . . . this book belongs in all collections."
(VOYA, starred review )

"Please, it's Lemony Snicket. Enough said." (Booklist )

"A Pink Panther-esque page turner that marks the return of eccentric narrator Lemony Snicket....The black, gray and blue illustrations by celebrated cartoonist Seth only add to the throwback gumshoe vibe of this outrageous, long-overdue, middle-grade follow-up series from a truly beloved narrator." (Los Angeles Times )

"Demands to be read twice: once for the laughs and the second time for the clues....Equal parts wit and absurdity." (The Boston Globe )

"The sort of goodie savored by brainy kids who love wordplay, puzzles and plots that zing from point A to B by way of the whole alphabet." (The Washington Post )

{ 1 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. it's a very good book review I might consider on getting this one thanks for the info


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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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