Fans will be over the moon, a phrase that here means exceedingly pleased.


From the All the Wrong Questions series , Vol. 3

Can an apprentice in a certain secret organization keep his associates safe and save a dying town—or is that one of the wrong questions?

Someone has set fire to Birnbaum’s Sheep Barn, a local business, and Lemony Snicket’s clueless chaperone, S. Theodora Markson, takes the case. But the client is the heretofore unheard-of department of education of Stain’d-by-the-Sea (a town with only one school). Snicket strongly suspects that the villain Hangfire is behind the arson; when local librarian Dashiell Qwerty is framed for the crime, Snicket is certain his suspicions are correct. But why would Hangfire burn down a sheep barn? After the school burns, Lemony Snicket and his young associates plot to save Stain’d-by-the-Sea’s children and the rest of its structures from Hangfire and the total numbskullery of the adult population. Some questions are answered, and still more are posed in Lemony Snicket (the author)’s third All the Wrong Questions tale. Lemony Snicket (the character) continues to worry about the sister he left in the city (she has now been arrested) and whether he can save (and in some cases trust) his young associates. Seth returns to add occasional spooky, intriguing bicolor illustrations. Linguistic play and literary allusions abound in this smart, slyly humorous noir thriller.

Fans will be over the moon, a phrase that here means exceedingly pleased. (Mystery. 8-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-316-12306-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Did you like this book?

Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this...


Sentenced to a brutal juvenile detention camp for a crime he didn't commit, a wimpy teenager turns four generations of bad family luck around in this sunburnt tale of courage, obsession, and buried treasure from Sachar (Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, 1995, etc.).

Driven mad by the murder of her black beau, a schoolteacher turns on the once-friendly, verdant town of Green Lake, Texas, becomes feared bandit Kissin' Kate Barlow, and dies, laughing, without revealing where she buried her stash. A century of rainless years later, lake and town are memories—but, with the involuntary help of gangs of juvenile offenders, the last descendant of the last residents is still digging. Enter Stanley Yelnats IV, great-grandson of one of Kissin' Kate's victims and the latest to fall to the family curse of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; under the direction of The Warden, a woman with rattlesnake venom polish on her long nails, Stanley and each of his fellow inmates dig a hole a day in the rock-hard lake bed. Weeks of punishing labor later, Stanley digs up a clue, but is canny enough to conceal the information of which hole it came from. Through flashbacks, Sachar weaves a complex net of hidden relationships and well-timed revelations as he puts his slightly larger-than-life characters under a sun so punishing that readers will be reaching for water bottles.

Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this rugged, engrossing adventure. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 978-0-374-33265-5

Page Count: 233

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2000

Did you like this book?