The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events #3)
Illustrations by Brett Helquist
If you have not read anything about the Baudelaire orphans, then before you read even one more sentence, you should know this: Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are kindhearted and quick-witted; but their lives, I am sorry to say, are filled with bad luck and misery. All of the stories about these three children are unhappy and wretched, and this one may be the worst of them all. If you haven’t got the stomach for a story that includes a hurricane, a signalling device, hungry leeches, cold cucumber soup, a horrible villain, and a doll named Pretty Penny, then this book will probably fill you with despair. I will continue to record these tragic tales, for that is what I do. You, however, should decide for yourself whether you can possibly endure this miserable story.
With all due respect,
My thoughts on this book:
The children have managed to avoid capture by Count Olaf again and now meet their new guardian, Aunt Josephine. She recently lost her husband and lives alone atop a hill in a rickety house overlooking Lake Lachrymose.
What is it with Aunt Josephine? She seems kind and the children feel safe, but she’s afraid of everything you could imagine and she’s absolutely obsessed with grammar.
Life is quite boring there and the children can’t help but think about their circumstances. While walking through the market one day, Violet runs into someone unexpectedly.
“Excuse m—” Violet started to say, but when she looked up she couldn’t finish her sentence. There stood a tall, thin man with a blue sailor hat on his head and black eye patch covering his left eye. He was smiling eagerly down at her as if she were a brightly wrapped birthday present that he couldn’t wait to rip open. His fingers were long and bony, and he was leaning awkwardly to one side, a bit like Aunt Josephine’s house dangling over the hill.
Right away Violet recognizes the man as Count Olaf and he’s already in the process of wooing Aunt Josephine who is completely oblivious as to what’s going on. She seems to be just as unsuspecting as Mr. Poe. He introduces himself as Captain Sham, but the children know better and will have to find a way to free themselves from Count Olaf once again.
I really love the use of vocabulary in these books. It really gets kids thinking about some of the words like: vainglorious, dastardly, irreconcilable, cahoots, and repartee, to name a few. I’ve even learned some new words myself. The author also includes explanations for phrases such as ‘hook, line, and sinker’.
We enjoyed this installment. The imagery is just fantastic and really pulls you in. This one is just as dark as the others we’ve read up to this point. Even with the recurring themes, we stayed interested throughout, all the way to the end.
We’ve already begun The Miserable Mill and we’re flying through it. The one mistake I did make was allow my kids to start the Netflix series. I noticed a major spoiler just after watching the first episode that I don’t remember from the book. Even with the titles matching up with the books, it seems there will still be spoilers, so we may wait to move forward with the Netflix series.
My rating on this book is 5*****
- Age Range: 8 – 12 years
- Grade Level: 5 – 6
- Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events (Book 3)
- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins (February 2, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0064407683
- ISBN-13: 978-0064407687