Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Reptile Room (Book)

Author: Lemony Snicket. Illustrator: Brett Helquist. Release date: 1999. Publisher:  HarperCollins. ISBN: 9780064407675.
File:The Reptile Room USA.PNGPlot summary: In this second installment of Lemony Snicket’s series, the Baudelaire children have been saved from their evil cousin, Count Olaf, and are now living with another distant relative, Dr. Montgomery Montgomery. Dr. Montgomery, or “Uncle Monty,” is a kind man with a bit of a reptile obsession. He introduces the children to his new assistant, Stephano, who will help him with his new discovery, the Incredibly Deadly Viper. The Baudelaire children quickly realize that Stephano is actually Count Olaf in disguise and try to warn their Uncle Monty, who doesn’t believe them. Will the Baudelaire children be able to escape Count Olaf again, or has their luck run out?
Review:  Continuing in the same dark but fun tone as the first novel, The Reptile Room continues Lemony Snicket’s popular series. The story picks up where the first left off with the Baudelaire children experiencing a bit of good fortune while living with their kind but eccentric uncle, Dr. Montgomery Montgomery. Readers will likely pick up on the fact, however, that things are never going to go well for the Baudelaires, and the fate of their uncle won’t be a surprise. Count Olaf’s disguising himself as Stephano proves to be an entertaining plot twist, as does the Incredibly Deadly Viper. Tweens who enjoyed the first installment in the series will also enjoy this sequel, and want to continue on to the third title.
Genre: Fiction
Reading level: Grades 4-7
Similar titles: Other titles by Lemony Snicket.
Personal thoughts: I was a bit apprehensive before picking up this title, as I have often been disappointed with sequels to novels that I enjoyed. In this case, I was very pleased with what Lemony Snicket created next for the Baudelaires. I think that tweens will enjoy this book as much as the first, and want to continue on in the series.
Themes:  Orphans, danger, reptiles.
Awards/Reviews:  Part of popular series.
Series Information: Book two in the Series of Unfortunate Events books by Lemony Snicket.
Character information:
Violet Baudelaire – Fourteen-years-old and oldest of the Baudelaire orphans. She is smart and an inventor. While living with her Uncle Monty she is asked to invent snake traps for a Peruvian expedition.
Klaus Baudelaire – Twelve-year-old middle child of the Baudelaire children. He is a bookworm who helps his Uncle Monty by reading books about snakes.
Sunny Baudelaire – Infant and youngest of the Baudelaire children. She has very sharp teeth and uses them to bite rope for Uncle Monty.
Count Olaf/Stephano – Evil cousin of the Baudelaire children. He disguises himself as Uncle Monty’s assistant in order to capture the Baudelaires and get their fortune.
Dr. Montgomery Montgomery or Uncle Monty – Kind guardian of the Baudelaires. He is a herpetologist and plans to take the children with him on an expedition to Peru.  
Annotation:   They escaped the clutches of their evil cousin, Count Olaf, and now the Baudelaire children are living with their kind distant uncle, a herpetologist named Dr. Montgomery Montgomery. But when Uncle Monty suddenly gets a new assistant, Stephano, could it be Count Olaf in disguise?

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