Half-way down the Top 100 Chapter Books list is The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket, first in the Series of Unfortunate Events. I’m going to keep this short, just like the book.
What it’s about: The three Baudelaire children–Violet, Klaus and Sunny–are orphaned and are sent to the first of their many future homes, that of Count Olaf. It doesn’t take long to figure out that Olaf is a horrible person who has only agreed to take guardianship of the children in order to get control of their vast fortune. I wonder how he could manage that …
Age level: Grade 3-5
Best part: I love that Violet is the one who is a gifted engineer (girl power!) and I really like the way that Snicket endeavors to expand kids’ vocabularies.
Worst part: The writing is a bit choppy and the clueless adults are just a bit too clueless.
Though this isn’t one of my favorite books, it’s not bad and one can certainly see how it influenced many stories that have come after it. It was daring in 1999 to have a story without a clear happy ending. No matter how capable the kids are, some things are just out of their control. I’ve never read past book three or four (there are thirteen in the series, naturally) but I know there are still kids at Z’s school that take out the books one after another — and how can you argue with that?
Now, I’ll admit that I’ve chosen a couple of beloved rereads as some of my winter books for this project and the first is The Phantom Tollbooth. I have adored this book since I first read it in 6th grade and I read it with Z a couple of years ago and he loved it too. If you’ve never read this brainy adventure, join me!
Schedule – November through January
note: dates are not necessarily set in stone – posts may go up a day or two before or after
November 15 – #21 The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (1961)
November 30 – #62 Clementine by Sara Pennypacker (2006)
December 15 – #47 Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868)
December 30 – Winter Break
January 15 – #28 The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (1995)
January 31 – #95 The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1943)