I love, nay adore, the Lemony Snicket series. I’ve read the books, twice with two different kids, met the author (in character, as Mr. Snicket), and even heard him sing. And play the mandolin, which in this case means a small musical instrument with a pear-shaped body and a fretted neck.
RL: 6.3-6.7 CSM: 9+ Rating: PG Content: Dark humor, peril, death of minor characters
This wonderfully wicked series about the unfortunate tales of the Baudelaire children has some fantastic vocabulary for advanced readers. It starts with Book the First, A Bad Beginning and continues on until, yes, Book the Thirteenth, which is decidedly The End. Filled with wretched characters of every sort, the Baudelaires stumble through one misadventure after another, trying to solve the mystery of the VFD. What is the VFD, you ask? If we only knew, my friend. If we only knew.
With names like The Vile Village and The Ersatz Elevator, these darkly funny books will enchant readers 8+. My sons’ favorite was The Penultimate Peril and to this day the word penultimate is used in our house with uncommon frequency, words which here imply that penultimate pops into conversation like an unexpected house guest. Ah, word fun. Would that all books could delight the literary senses as much as these.
Because The Series of Unfortunate Events is wildly popular, there are a number of spin-off books, such as The Unauthorized Autobiography of Lemony Snicket and The Beatrice Letters, as well as a website that warns: This Site is Very Unpleasant.
It would be unfortunate if you let the warnings dissuade you.