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Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things That Aren't as Scary Hardcover – October 1, 2005
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How about an introduction by Lemony Snicket, that starts: "An introduction to a book of stories is like a warning printed on a bottle in a medicine cabinet....," with funky illustrations by Brett Helquist?
What if Lemony Snicket has also written, on the inside of the dust jacket, the beginnings of a story that, when completed and submitted by some lucky reader, will be eligible for a grand prize? The dust jacket is designed so that it can double as an envelope for your submission, but I really wouldn't want to do that if I were you, since this book is going to be a collector's item. Actually, I wish I hadn't told you about any of this, since I'm going to be buying up as many copies as I can get my hands on.
My two favorite stories are "Seymour's Last Wish," by Sam Swope, and "The ACES Phone," by Jeanne DuPrau. The former features a young lad - the hapless Seymour - whose mother favors cats over him, until a fairy grants Seymour three wishes and his options expand; the latter introduces the reader to a cell phone found on a playground that has unusual spiritual powers with respect to canines.
Want to know more? Well, for starters, there used to be a Sixth Borough in New York City. There's an explanation and a fold-out map in case you're wondering what happened to it.
There is also an Excessively Difficult Crossword Puzzle, for those who like such things. I suspect Mr. Snicket had a hand in this crossword puzzle, crafted by David Levinson Wilk, but you'll have to make up your own mind on that one. And if the answer to one of the questions is "Count Olaf," I certainly didn't tell you.
However, I wasn't allowed to keep it for myself as my 7 year old son loved it even more than me. He read the Neil Gaiman story first but then got sucked in and spent last Saturday morning reading it - I don't think you can ask for a more ringing endorsement than that.
While writers like Nick Hornby and Neil Gaiman contribute, the best effort comes from Kelly Link, in his tale titled, "Monster." Although written for children, this is one of the funniest short stories I've read in quite some time - funny, scary, straightforward in its telling - and it's the highlight of an outstanding collection.
The only thing that keeps me from giving this 5 stars is the fact that there are a couple of weak stories that hurt the overall collection. Still, I'd highly recommend this for readers of any age. You might not like every story, but I guarantee that there will be several that catch your fancy.
The funniest part was the introduction by Lemony Snicket. I'd like to know how Paul Revere did wrong by him.
Most stories are sure to be a hit with the grade 3 - 6 crowd; the final story by Jonathan Safran Foer ("The Sixth Borough") is a bit less kid-friendly, but the collection as a whole is a fun read. Highly recommended for young readers.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very good collection of short stories by various writers.Published 9 months ago by Johnny Heering
This book begins with an introduction by Lemony Snicket. Read it. The gist of Snicket’s top-notch intro is to inform the reader that, while there are many tedious stories out... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Book Trope 9
these stories are really good, I've been reading them to 1-2 graders and even though book has only a few pictures, most of them still holds their attentionPublished 13 months ago by seeker01
I have loved nearly all of the stories I've read so far - and my buddy liked the stories I read him so much, he has just borrowed this, so it may be a while before I get to read... Read morePublished on March 12, 2012 by Lisa G. Bennett
I didn't really know what to expect with this book. It seemed so mysterious to me at first, with its super long title and the impressive line up of contributors. Read morePublished on May 29, 2010 by Rozette Diaz
Great gift for young readers but the complete-the-story contest offer, which would be fun experience, is expired.Published on May 15, 2008 by Charles Stough