29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy

29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy

5.0 1
by Lemony Snicket, Lisa Brown
     
 


We are very curious about the Swinster Pharmacy. We stay up late every night wondering what sort of eerie secrets it contains. Why are there three Styrofoam heads in the windows? Who is the owner? Is it really closed on weekends? Renowned investigator Lemony Snicket has compiled 29 myths about this bewildering establishment, in the vain hope that he could help us… See more details below

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Overview


We are very curious about the Swinster Pharmacy. We stay up late every night wondering what sort of eerie secrets it contains. Why are there three Styrofoam heads in the windows? Who is the owner? Is it really closed on weekends? Renowned investigator Lemony Snicket has compiled 29 myths about this bewildering establishment, in the vain hope that he could help us shine some light on this enduring mystery.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
11/25/2013
Every town has one: that tchotchke shop/storefront psychic/drugstore that raises questions like “How does that place stay in business?” Snicket and Brown (The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming) examine one such emporium of enigma, the Swinster Pharmacy, its very name almost “sinister.” Two children are fascinated by the store and what it might sell, and their 29 notes and comments comprise the narrative. This isn’t a book about solving a mystery—entering the pharmacy would, after all, basically put the matter to rest. Instead, Snicket and Brown let readers dwell in the gray, desolate weirdness of the downtown (a foldout map of the neighborhood is included). While the book successfully evokes a sense of unease about the store, as well as the way children create mysteries out of the quotidian, the observations are often opaque (“Nothing’s perfect. The Swinster Pharmacy is not perfect. The glow of the moon on the car, there, is not perfect”) or banal (“I was going to write a poem about the Swinster Pharmacy”), making the mystery one that belongs to these two children, not one readers can share in. Ages 7–up. (Feb.)
From the Publisher

"[29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy] provides a clear reason for drawing one’s own conclusions: Observing and recording the results through a personal filter makes a good story." —Kirkus Reviews

"Beneath [29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy] is a lovely allegory about the capacity of children’s imaginations to see enigmatic wonder in even the simplest things and find multiple meanings in the most mundane." —Maria Popova, BrainPickings

"Kids are weird and charming and confusing. They teeter in that fuzzy place between wonder and reality. ?[29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy] is a book that honors this and celebrates that."—Design of the Picture Book

"[Lemony] Snicket masterfully captures the odd associations and accidentally philosophical thinking of young children trying to understand their world. A book to be read again and again as different meanings emerge" —Huffington Post

"[Lemony] Snicket masterfully captures the odd associations and accidentally philosophical thinking of young children trying to understand their world. A book to be read again and again as different meanings emerge" —Huffington Post

School Library Journal
03/01/2014
Gr 4–8—Innovative in both its style and gloomy dénouement, this picture-book mystery unfolds as an episodic essay of 29 seemingly random observations. It employs both narrative and expository voices as it describes an old-timey downtown pharmacy with "Styrofoam heads wearing wigs" in the window and employees wearing long white coats.The Swinster Pharmacy remains unchanged in what is "usually a quiet town," and this timelessness presents a puzzle that two children investigate tirelessly as they are certain that there is something terribly wrong with this establishment. Careful observers will find clues in the illustrations that supply reasons for the seemingly gratuitous obsessiveness. The story is written in a droll, but authoritative voice reminiscent of pre-1960s journalese, and the art has a flat, understated style that is reminiscent of Marc Simont's work. The two friends are essentially reporters, and their reports read like poetic fragments: "15. The building is a perfect square./We measured it last night," "18. Something about the door is electric as opposed to acoustic./It closes like a hiss,/like the serpent in the Garden of Eden/or a slow, dead tire." This picture book is a wee bit odd in tone, it is true. Nevertheless, it could be used a springboard for readers to develop and solve the implicit whodunit story, or as an opportunity to analyze what constitutes solid evidence versus allusive facts.—Sara Lissa Paulson, The American Sign Language and English Lower School, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
2013-12-18
Young investigators, a girl and boy old enough to ride the city bus alone, offer 29 observations associated with a building in another town. The Swinster Pharmacy seems to be one of those strangely inaccessible businesses engaged in unknown and possibly mysterious activities. A cat closely resembling the cat on the "Lost" flyer posted near the Swinster Pharmacy slips among the scenes. There's an implication of nonspecific sinister happenings: Much is unexplained and slightly surreal (and the richer for it). From the title ("29 Myths on…"), Snicket channels the slightly awkward, odd syntax of children. Some of the sleuths' 29 numbered statements are a little spooky—"Dogs bark at it all the time"—while some are slyly funny: "I was going to write a poem about the Swinster Pharmacy." A sign in the window declares "Included." Brown's simple, cartoon-style artwork against a dark background is just right: It's direct and not overly edgy; her characters are distinctive and expressive. A simple map offers a geographic context for the travels of the sleuthing duo; a glimpse of the basement appears on the cover. The compelling, unexplained goings-on at the Swinster Pharmacy could turn out to be evil or benign or something completely other—readers are never told. For all its enigmatic nature, the tale provides a clear reason for drawing one's own conclusions: Observing and recording the results through a personal filter makes a good story. (Picture book. 5-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781938073786
Publisher:
McSweeney's Publishing
Publication date:
02/11/2014
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
356,586
Product dimensions:
7.30(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
7 Years

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