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

4.1 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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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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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: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #634,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Eddie Dickens is horrified when his beloved Mother and Father catch a disease that not only makes them turn yellow, but also makes them go a bit crinkly around the edges, and smell of old hot-water bottles. Eddie is even more horrified when he finds out that he must go away and stay with relatives - whom he's never met - at their home called Awful End. Soon Eddie finds that these strange relatives of his are indeed just that. Strange. For Mad Uncle Jack and Even Madder Aunt Maud, are absolutely crazy. However, along the way to Awful End, Eddie is plagued wih meeting even more crazy people and strange situations, for he is threatened by a bearded stranger, hypnotized by a handkerchief, and, worst of all, he's mistaken for an escaped orphan from St. Horrid's Home for Grateful Orphans. What more will Eddie have to endure before his parents are cured, and he's able to escape Mad Uncle Jack and Even Madder Aunt Maud?
When I saw the cover of A HOUSE CALLED AWFUL END, I was instantly reminded of one of my favorite series' A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, and after reading the back cover, I realized that this book sounded a bit like those treasures by Lemony Snicket. However, while A HOUSE CALLED AWFUL END is entirely enjoyable, it's not much like A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS. Eddie, however, is a fun character who will capture the hearts of young readers the world over. Philip Ardagh, like Lemony Snicket, makes the reader sympathize with Eddie throughout all of the tragedies - no matter how funny they seem - that he must endure, helping the reader to identify with him. Overall this was a cute book, complete with nicely drawn illustrations appearing on every few pages.
Erika Sorocco
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A House Called Awful End is a great book, following the style of the great Lemony Snicket and Pseudonymous Bosch. With characters as bizarre as those in Middle-Earth and humor in the style of Jeff Kinney, this is a must-read for all Snicket and Bosch fans. I did not read it on an Amazon device, but I downloaded it on Amazon. It was worth it. I have yet to read the next books in the series, but I am looking forward to it. What I find interesting is the fact that Ardagh did not intentionally write this, it was actually a series of letters written simply to entertain his nephew. He has amazing talent without realizing it. Isn't that what makes good authors? Anyway, this is an underdog who is sure to impress. Happy Reading!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book outloud to my children (boy 8 and girl 10). They loved it. It is just a little on the crazed side. I found that I enjoyed it almost as much as they did. The humour is quirky to say the least. I highly recomend it if you are looking for something to share.
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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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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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