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The Austere Academy (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 5) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, August 8, 2000
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In The Austere Academy, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are at first optimistic--attending school is a welcome change for the book-loving trio, and the academy is allegedly safe from the dreaded Count Olaf, who is after their fortune. Hope dissipates quickly, however, when they meet Vice Principal Nero, a self-professed genius violinist who sneeringly imitates their every word. More dreadful still, he houses them in the tin Orphans Shack, crawling with toe-biting crabs and dripping with a mysterious tan fungus. A beam of light shines through the despair when the Baudelaires meet the Quagmires, two of three orphaned triplets who are no strangers to disaster and sympathize with their predicament. When Count Olaf appears on the scene disguised as Coach Genghis (covering his monobrow with a turban and his ankle tattoo with expensive running shoes), the Quagmires resolve to come to the aid of their new friends. Sadly, this proves to be a hideous mistake.
Snicket disarms us again with his playful juxtapositions--only he can compare bombs with strawberry shortcake (both are as dangerous to make as assumptions), muse on how babies adjust developmentally to the idea of curtains, or ponder why the Baudelaire orphans would not want to be stalks of celery despite their incessant bad luck as humans. We can't get enough of this splendid series of misadventures, and can only wager that swarms of young readers will be right next to us in line for the next installment. (Ages 9 and older) --Karin Snelson
From School Library Journal
Ann Cook, Winter Park Public Library, FL
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
I also recommend: The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, The Wide Window, The Miserable Mill, The Ersatz Elevator, The Vile Village, the Harry Potter series, and the Orphan Train Quartet.
The narrator's story is often more interesting than that of the Baudelaire orphans. He gives out hints about himself, making me wonder how on earth, for example, Mr. Snicket came to be chased by a group of torch-bearing villagers, or why (from the first book) he is not allowed within five miles of my town. Why is he compelled to research the siblings and share their story with the world? We're given to know in this book that the tale is told at a distant remove in the future, although between Gothic elements and modern-day conveniences (computers and cars are mentioned but not television?) it's hard to say exactly where, or when, the story takes place.
The orphans' situation is dismal but in a hilarious way. They are made to live in a tin shack inhabited by little toe-biting crabs and drippy tan fungus! Sunny (a baby!) is to do administrative assistant (a.k.a. secretarial) work and, when she runs out of staples, must make her own! And, lest we forget, Count Olaf returns to make their lives miserable, in a ridiculous disguise that only the Beaudelaire orphans can see through.
The Beaudelaire orphans meet some new friends in this book, the Quagmire triplets--two of them anyway, since the third, well, it's too sad to tell, read the book. In a world of menacing, incompetent, or annoying adults, these clever, kind children win the day...until the unhappy (but still funny) cliffhanger ending which leads us in to Book the Sixth, "The Ersatz Elevator."
While the first book didn't enchant me, this one was great fun and I plan to pick up as many of the series as I can! I'm looking forward to reading Book the Seventh, "The Vile Village" and all the rest of the Beaudelaire orphans' adventures that I've missed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great and intelligent writing, kept me on the edge the whole time!Published 1 month ago by Maysen Running
Great book. Many cliff hangers and exciting events in the story. Love these books because they always end in very sad, unfortunate, and intense moments. GET IT!!!!!Published 2 months ago by Linda Kistner
My 2nd grader loves this series! Wonderful, engaging plots with excellent vocabulary. We are reading them all! Highly recommended--try them,Published 2 months ago by Evangeline Anderson
This book was just as good as all the others in the series. Very creative.Published 2 months ago by GreeneJellyBean
I chose 5 stars because I love characters who have strange but good personalities such as in the Andrew Clements series. I would recommend this for a pessimist.
The book was in great condition! Loved this series when I was younger and lent the whole series to someone and when they were returned a couple of years later I only got 5 back out... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Jkirby