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A House Called Awful End: Book One in the Eddie Dickens Trilogy Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 1, 2002


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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 8
  • Series: The Eddie Dickens Trilogy (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); 1 edition (September 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805068287
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805068283
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #637,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"When Eddie Dickens was eleven years old, both his parents caught some awful disease that made them turn yellow, go a bit crinkly around the edges, and smell of old hot water bottles." So begins author Philip Ardagh's silly story of an ill-fated boy who, due to his parents' jaundiced condition, is forced to take part in a quest so preposterous that it could only conclude at A House Called Awful End. Set in England, back in the days when "postage stamps were a pretty new idea," Eddie finds himself put in the dubious care of his Mad Uncle Jack and Mad Aunt Maud, who not only assault him with a stuffed stoat and make him sleep in his trunk, but carelessly turn him over to the St. Horrid's Home for Grateful Orphans. There, he stages a breakout, smuggles himself and the other orphans out in the belly of a cow parade float, and is miraculously reunited with his newly recovered parents. And if you're thinking that this plot is utter nonsense, you're absolutely right. Ardagh originally wrote the ridiculous farce as a series of letters to entertain his nephew in boarding school and thought it may charm others as well. While adult readers may scratch their heads in bewilderment as they try to follow this riotously rambling narrative, children have long been aficionados of the absurd, and Awful End will no doubt appeal hugely to those fans of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events and Neil Gaiman's wonderfully weird Coraline. Book one in a proposed trilogy. (Ages 9 to 12) --Jennifer Hubert

From Publishers Weekly

British author Ardagh launches the Eddie Dickens Trilogy with this tongue-in-cheek tale of a hapless youth. A group of cockamamy adults manufactures most of the humor while the hero plays straight man: 11-year-old Eddie is sent away by his ailing parents so that he will be spared their ill health. His mother calls him Jonathan ("for Jonathan was the pet name she called Eddie when she couldn't remember his real one"), and his father sends the boy packing with his (truly) Mad Uncle Jack. Most of the novel follows the boy, his uncle and his Mad Aunt Maud and her stuffed stoat, Malcolm (whom Jack calls Sally), as they travel via stagecoach to their home, Awful End (they never get there). "To break the journey, Mad Uncle Jack stopped at a coaching inn called The Coaching Inn." Here things take a turn, and when events land Eddie in St. Horrid's Home for Grateful Orphans, he gets to show his stuff. The omniscient narrator spoofs Charles Dickens's orphan tales with his offhand quips (when Eddie is suddenly thrust into the orphanage, the narrator remarks, "Perhaps we'll never find out how he ended up in this godforsaken place. Perhaps we'll find out in the next episode"). Roberts's hilarious pen-and-ink drawings of wide-eyed Eddie and his insane family resemble a cross between Charles Addams and Edward Gorey. Adult fans of Bleak House and Oliver Twist will appreciate Ardagh's clever crafting, and kids who lap up Lemony Snicket's series will take quickly to this tale and clamor for the next. Ages 9-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

This book is rather an enjoyable read.
julip510
The stories and characters are unusual and extremely funny -- I laugh out loud quite often.
April Irick
I picked it up from the bookstore because it reminded me of the Unfortunate Series.
A. Clements

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By K. Dougoud on May 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
My dyslexic son bought this book and the sequel while we were in
Oxford, England and we absolutely loved them. We could readily picture all of the characters and the things they were involved in. My son was 11 at the time and loved having it read to him every night. We have just purchased our first Lemony Snicket book as we grew tired of waiting for the final book in this trilogy. Perhaps we found it so entertaining as I am an upper elementary teacher and his father a middle school teacher and we know these characters on a personal level. It is well worth exploring. I have also read it to my students and they beg for more.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Harvey J.Satan on October 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Firstly,lets cut through all the treacle....if this book suffers from one thing,it's the comparrisons,that not only the book jacket gives,but most ill-read reviewers. Comparrisons to Monty Python (because it's British,and eccentric in spots ),Lemony Snickett ( because it's bad things happening to a child antagonist ),and Charles Dickens ( because of the name ). Well folks,Roald Dahl was doing stories about bad things happening to children long before Lemony Snickett or Monty Python,and Charles Dickens was doing stories about bad things happening to Victorian children before him. So Who Sues Who?
( A question which here means: "Stop crying wolf.")
HISTORY LESSON OVER....REVIEW BEGINS HERE:
This is a fun little book. It's silly. It's definitely written more for children than the adventures of the Baudelaire Children. It's also quite British in it's humours,but that by no means,means Americans and other foreigners won't enjoy it and laugh along. Young Eddie Dickens is sent to live with his Loony Aunt & Uncle and a stuffed stoat,at Awful End. And this book is the tale of what happens when they encounter Insane Actors,Highwaymen,The Empress of China,A Nosey Peeler(or "copper" to you. ),A Suspect Orphanage,and an Amusing Cow Shaped Parade Float. This is a good read for children,and fun for those adults who aren't too grown up. I also enjoyed the artwork,which has that "Willy Wonka"/"Edward Gorey" appeal to it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dorothy on September 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
A House Called Awful End is a hilariously funny book. But it's too short. It might just be me because I think I'm a bit old for the series, but it's still really good and a definite filler for Lemony Snicket Fans like me who are eagerly awaiting his next book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Clements on October 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I absolutely loved this book. I picked it up from the bookstore because it reminded me of the Unfortunate Series. It is so funny that I couldn't put it down. One of the best parts in it (I almost peed my pants!) the author writes that Eddie took a seat in the carriage and Eddie's Mad Aunt Maud says, "Put that back!" *LOL* I was rolling. I agree with the other critique on here also, but I think that maybe this one is better than the Lemony Snicket books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Before I go on with this story, I suppose I should explain that I love funny stories with lots of laughs (like this one) that capture the reader's attention with comedy.
Awful End is about the unfortunate Eddie Dickens, a little boy with sick parents who goes to live at a place known as Awful End. Eddie is brought to Awful End by his "Mad" Uncle Jack, "Mad" Aunt Maude and a stuffed stoat named Malcolm (or Sally). When little Eddie finds himself in a place called the Coaching Inn, some incredible things happen there. And when the Coaching Inn's actor-manager, Mr. Pumblesnook, "attacks" them on the road, there are even more laughs! But when there's a fire in Mr. and Mrs. Dickens house, and their Gentlemen's Gentlemen doesn't know what to do except to fry eggs, Mr. and Mrs. Dickens make their own escape. They start looking for Eddie, who in the meantime is in Saint Horrid's home for Ungrateful Orphans.
There weren't any parts that I didn't like in this hilarious book, but my favorite scene is when the author is describing the fire (which is actually quite funny) and how there is a mix-up between the Gentleman's Gentleman and Mrs. Dickens (the frying eggs one). I liked this book a lot and I hope you will too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pop Bop TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I like Lemony Snicket. But, at some point the whole world weary sour thing can become so predictable and formulaic that it is just tedious. Well, this is Snicket lite - a little more sense of fun and a little more silliness without the bitter aftertaste.

But, like Snicket, it still only works in small doses; I don't know if I could take too much of this in one sitting. Luckily, the book is a manageable length and lends itself to chapter reading over the course of a few bedtimes. It does seem like this would be a good choice to add a little variety to the kids' library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amelia on April 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Philip Ardagh's short novel is his first in what is billed as a trillogy of novels concerning Eddie Dickens, a young boy living in England, and the silly things that befall him. Eddie's parents fall ill with an "awful disease that made them turn yellow, go a bit crinkly around the edges, and smell of old hot water bottles." During their illness, his parents wish him to go live with Mad Uncle Jack at Uncle Jack's house, Awful End. While Mad Uncle Jack is strange, Mad Aunt Maud is truly insane. She carries around a stuffed stoat (presumably once living, but that is never made clear) she calls Malcolm, and is not above hitting people with it. Through a series of crazy events Eddie winds up in St. Horrid's Home for Grateful Orphans. Escaping from St. Horrid's is Eddie's next obstacle.
Ardagh informs the reader that this story about Eddie was originally written as a series of letters to entertain his nephew in boarding school. Since Ardagh is British, he has used some terms that are common in British English, but rare or unheard-of in American English. Fortunately Ardagh also includes a Glossary, explaining these terms to his American audience.
Many adults and older children will find Awful End to be tedious foolishness. However, as is illustrated by the popularity of Lemony Snicket's absurd stories, silliness is popular with children. Adults who enjoy goofiness will giggle over the implications of such things as Eddie's last name being Dickens (conjuring images of Charles Dickens and his orphans). Fans of ridiculous nonsense are in for a treat; those that find such wackiness annoying should steer clear.
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