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Series of Unfortunate Events #05: The Austere Academyby Lemony Snicket
Synopses & Reviews
If, for some too ghastly to mention reason you haven't yet met, allow me the pleasure of introducing Mr. Lemony Snicket, whose sad task it is to document the trials and travails of the tragically fated Baudelaire siblings. Mr. Snicket pens the wickedly funny Series of Unfortunate Events, in which he chronicles the woeful and witty adventures of Klaus, Violet, and Sunny, orphaned in The Bad Beginning, Book the First and left to depend on each other and their smarts as they are relentlessly pursued by their frequently disguised nemesis, Count Olaf. In book five of the series, The Austere Academy, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire enroll in the Prufrock Academy, where they are cruelly mimicked by the horrid Vice Principal Nero, housed in the Orphans' Shack with toe-biting crabs and fungus on the walls, and once again come face to face with Count Olaf, in disguise as usual (this time he has hidden his trademark monobrow under a turban). Lemony Snicket's deliciously morose and painfully funny books are successful for all the right reasons, and The Austere Academy is no exception. Like Sesame Street or The Simpsons, the humor is never patronizing but appeals indiscriminately to old and young alike. After all, few adults or children could resist the opening line to The Austere Academy: "If you were going to give a gold medal to the least delightful person on Earth, you would have to give that medal to a person named Carmelita Spats, and if you didn't give it to her, Carmelita Spats was the sort of person who would rip it from your hands anyway." Georgie, Powells.com
If you are looking for a story about cheerful youngsters spending a jolly time at boarding school, look elsewhere. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire arc intelligent and resourceful children, and you might expect that they would do very well at school. Don't. For the Baudelaires, school turns out to be another miserable episode in their unlucky lives.
Truth be told, within the chapters that make up this dreadful story, the children will face snapping crabs, strict punishments, dripping fungus, comprehensive exams, violin recitals, S.O.R.E., and the metric system.
It is my solemn duty to stay up all night researching and writing the history of these three hapless youngsters, but you may be more comfortable getting a good night's sleep. In that case, you should probably choose some other book.
With all due respect,
"Series followers will be keeping their eye out for evil Count Olaf in one of his disguises, and the author doesn't disappoint....Kids not familiar with the previous books will also enjoy this." Booklist
"In these days of Harry Potter, this book is a pesky nuisance, with little plot to drive it, situations that fall short of being interesting or off-the-wall, and cardboard characters." School Library Journal
As their outrageous misfortune continues, the Baudelaire orphans are shipped off to a miserable boarding school, where they befriend the two Quagmire triplets and find that they have been followed by the dreaded Count Olaf.
As the three Baudelaire orphans warily approach their new home Prufrock Preparatory School : they can't help but notice the enormous stone arch bearing the school's motto Memento Mori or "Remember you will die." This is not a cheerful greeting and certainly marks an inauspicious beginning to a very bleak story just as we have come to expect from Lemony Snickett's Series of Unfortunate Events, the deliciously morbid set of books that began with The Bad Beginning and only got worse.
As the three Baudelaire orphans warily approach their new home Prufrock Preparatory School : they can′t help but notice the enormous stone arch bearing the school′s motto Memento Mori or "Remember you will die." This is not a cheerful greeting and certainly marks an inauspicious beginning to a very bleak story just as we have come to expect from Lemony Snickett′s Series of Unfortunate Events, the deliciously morbid set of books that began with The Bad Beginning and only got worse.
About the Author
Lemony Snicket grew up near the sea and currently lives beneath it. To his horror and dismay, he has no wife or children, only enemies, associates, and the occasional loyal manservant. His trial has been delayed, so he is free to continue researching and recording the tragic tales of the Baudelaire orphans for HarperCollins.
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