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13 Words Hardcover – October 5, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 3
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition edition (October 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061664650
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061664656
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8.8 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A Look Inside 13 Words
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Mezzo-Soprano Vanilla cake with chocolate icing and candles

From Publishers Weekly

Based on an unlucky number of key words and authored by someone who takes pleasure in unfortunate events, this volume conjures a sense of foreboding. "Word Number 1: Bird" introduces the central character, and the accompanying illustration pictures a royal-blue bird perched on a linen tablecloth, in a yellow-and-pink dining room that might have been painted by Matisse. The bird's eye droops sadly, whereupon readers turn to "Word Number 2: Despondent" and "Word Number 3: Cake," an item that might alleviate a bird's ennui, at least temporarily. Despite ominous beginnings, the proceedings turn upbeat with the arrival of a chic "Word Number 4: Dog," who concocts witty diversions for the gloomy bird. Kalman's eccentric gouaches elevate the wintry mood; the dog, with his sly grin, resembles Kalman's Max, particularly when he tries on hats at "Word Number 9: Haberdashery." Sprinkled with additional vocab words like "spiffy" and featuring surreal landscapes in ice-cream hues, this word-association game recalls Kalman's solo productions. The conclusion, however, belongs to Snicket, because "the bird, to tell you the truth, is still a little despondent." All ages. (Oct.)
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More About the Author

Lemony Snicket claims he was nowhere near the scene of the crime. He is the author of several other unpleasant stories, including those in the bestselling A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Lump of Coal.

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Customer Reviews

Both my 6 and 8 year old sons love this book.
meghan
This a great book with loads of information on how to teach young children vocabulary in a fun way.
SParr
I highly recommend adding this to your classroom library or your own library of children's books!
Annette Delaney

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Laura Keller on February 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
We checked this book out of the library for our three year old. What a surprise! She laughs all the way through it, and especially loves the fact that the baby runs the haberdashery. From an adult pov, it is creative, fun, surprising, and the words are fun to say. I'ts the kind of book that makes you love language. From my daughter's point of view, it is silly--and there's nothing she loves more than silly. This book respects the child.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Celeste576012 on October 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Lemony Snicket brings out the extravagant side of writing into picture books. 13 words opens a world of new words for kids with a "despondent" bird, a dog and a goat.
13 words is not the usual picture-book, but definitely reflects how they should be. A challenging read for kids, but definitely a fun ride and a great learning device as well.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Annis Whitlow on May 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I was drawn to this book by its title because I have a nephew who loves learning new words, but when I finished the book, I was completely hooked. The surprise and absurdity of the story and the lively illustrations drew me into the strange world of the sad bird and her friend the dog as though I myself were a child seeing the world for the first time. The book is filled with interesting words and visual details that make for an stimulating and varied experience. The book so captivated me that I could recount almost all of the 13 words after one read, and could even describe details of the different scenes. I sent it to my nephews for Easter (toddler and infant) and they both love it. The toddler loves the sad bird and the cakes and hats and the infant loves the entrepreneurial baby. It is so much fun to see the two year old practicing the words in the book! I think the best way to enjoy this book is to think of it as a word book with a strange story that links its seemingly disconnected words rather than as an illustrated storybook. That said, I think the book contains some important lessons: 1. sometimes you will be despondent and that is okay. 2. When you are very sad, you can temporarily relieve that sadness by spending time with friends, treating yourself to things you enjoy, listening to music, and staying busy. 3. When your friends are sad, it can be nice to help them do those things that relieve sadness, but not take their sadness personally, and 4. the meaning of the word panache.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Andrea Obana on October 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
It looked so promising... Lemony Snicket AND Maira Kalman?! Sounded like a match made in heaven! When my 4yo received this as a birthday present, *I* was the one most excited about it. So we dove right in, and read it... but... it's very strange. While the illustrations are creative and inventive, and each page has, well, interesting things written on it, the overall feeling I was left with was one of... hmm, incompleteness? Or like I missed something? I kept thinking each page was all part of an arc that would explain itself at the end, but that didn't happen. The "story" was disjointed, with promising and wacky characters that show up, but they didn't *do* anything. I'll give you an example: a hat store whose owner is a baby. It *sounds* like something really funny could come of it, but nothing does. He's just a baby who runs the hat store. (Incidentally, that the hat store was called a "haberdashery" kind of got to me, too; isn't a hat store a millinery? Or is that specifically for women's hats?? Oh, who cares.)

Anyway, I'm all for books that are weird and wonderful and seem sort of hard to "get," but still leave you with a sense of happiness and wonderment. This one didn't seem to do it upon first reading, but I will give it the benefit of the doubt and read through it with the kids again. Oh, the kids... they didn't seem to mind that it didn't make any sense, and they actually liked some of the 13 words. So three stars for a solid "I can't make up my mind" vote.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Sparrow on December 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are a Lemony Snicket fan, you will not be disappointed by this book. It is everything you would expect -- low key, interesting and quirky. I don't know how Lemon Snicket always finds artists that are exactly right for each book, but he does -- the pictures in "13 Words" help make the book as wonderful as it is.
I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5 only because it is not quite as wonderful as Mr. Snicket's "The Lump of Coal," which quickly became one of our family's favorite books ever.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By St. Paul 1 on April 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
My daughter, who just turned 3, loves this book. I like it quite well, too. It's one of those rare children's book that doesn't grow tiresome for an adult reader after two or three go arounds. The plot has been described elsewhere, and I don't think it matters that much anyway as much as the odd, unexpected twists, and the deft insertions of words such as "swell" and "spiffy". And not to be too goody-goody, it's nice to have a character like the dog who is such a good friend to the bird - even if he doesn't help paint the ladders. All this, and a bittersweet ending! What more could you ask for?

Reading the other reviews, it is apparent that if you don't like this book, you REALLY don't like it. But it is sad to see librarians deciding they don't like it, therefore it has no merit and they won't acquire it. It does not appeal to all tastes, and some children may be indifferent to it (nothing wrong with that), but others will love it, and should have the chance to see it.
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