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The Wide Window: Book the Third (A Series of Unfortunate Events)

The Wide Window: Book the Third (A Series of Unfortunate Events)

4.5 388
by Lemony Snicket

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Dear Listener,

I am sorry to say that the lives of the Baudelaire orphans, Violet, Klaus and Sunny, are filled with bad luck and misery. All of the stories about these three children are unhappy and wretched, and the one you are holding may be the worst of them all.

If you haven't got the stomach for a story that includes a hurricane, hungry leeches, cold


Dear Listener,

I am sorry to say that the lives of the Baudelaire orphans, Violet, Klaus and Sunny, are filled with bad luck and misery. All of the stories about these three children are unhappy and wretched, and the one you are holding may be the worst of them all.

If you haven't got the stomach for a story that includes a hurricane, hungry leeches, cold cucumber soup and a doll named Pretty Penny, then this audio will probably fill you with despair.

I also shouldn't mention the interactive features of the CD, which include:

  • A perplexing word game
  • Photos from The Lemony Snicket Archives
  • Art from The Brett Helquist gallery

I will continue to record these tragic tales for that is what I do. You should decide for yourself if you can possibly endure this miserable story.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket

Editorial Reviews

Fortunately for young readers, Lemony Snicket has dedicated his life to informing readers of all the misfortunes that plagued the three Baudelaire orphans -- the unluckiest children to ever live. In The Wide Window, the third book in the series, the Baudelaire children are sent to stay with a distant aunt who lives on a cliff's edge overhanging the aptly named Lake Lachrymose, a foreboding body of water serviced by the Fickle Ferry and filled with sharp-toothed leeches who have deadly appetites.

Of course, the tale wouldn't be complete without the presence of the evilly scheming Count Olaf and one or more of his twisted sidekicks trying to get their hands on the children, or more accurately, on the children's fortune. Once again Olaf is in disguise, though the children recognize him immediately thanks to his unibrow and the bright, evil shine in his eyes. The tell-tale eye tattoo on his ankle seems to be missing, however, since Olaf's disguise this time is as a peg-legged sea captain.

The childrens' newest guardian, Aunt Josephine, is a master of phobias and an expert on grammar. She's frightened of tons of things -- some of them reasonable, such as the deadly leeches in Lachrymose Lake who took the life of her husband, and some of them not so reasonable, such as her fear of using the telephone. One thing she isn't afraid of, however, is correcting improper grammar. And as the Baudelaire children get several impromptu lessons on proper usage, so do readers. In fact, it's Josephine's obsession with language that helps the children uncover Count Olaf's latest scheme.

These stories require a hefty suspension of belief on occasion, but that's part of what makes them so much fun. Illustrator Brett Helquist adds to the pleasure by bringing the characters to life in drawings that often exhibit touches of the same wry humor found in the narrator's voice. (Beth Amos)

Publishers Weekly
Author Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler) reads volumes three and four of his Series of Unfortunate Events saga. A snappy, techno tune by a group called the Gothic Archies serves as toe-tapping introduction to Handler's chipper performance of his humorously melodramatic tales. The first two audiobooks in the series, performed by British actor Tim Curry, were released by Listening Library in March. (May) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
A long car trip with children can bring either agony or joy. In our family travels, audio books have made all the difference. An endless trip flies by with a gripping story and we remember some vacations not only for destinations, but for the stories we heard en route. Highly recommended are Lemony Snicket's "Series of Unfortunate Events." These satirical melodramas relate the adventures of the three gifted Baudelaire orphans as they battle the evil Count Olaf who means to destroy them and gain their fortune. This series, one of children's books' newer reading phenomena, has subtle humor, Roald Dahl-like pathos, and lots of action. The author reads the two newest tapes—Wide Window and The Miserable Mill in the "Series of Unfortunate Events." His reading is slightly less dramatic than Tim Curry of the first two books in the series, but still involving. Children will love both. There are three cassettes, unabridged. 2001, Harper Children's Audio, $20.00. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Susie Wilde
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-This is "Book the Third" in a series about the wealthy and clever but unfortunate Baudelaire children who were orphaned in a tragic fire. Pursued by the evil Count Olaf, who murdered their parents and their last caregiver, 14-year-old Violet, 12-year-old Klaus, and baby Sunny are sent to elderly Aunt Josephine, a strange, fearful widow and grammarian. She lives in a house built on precarious stilts on the side of a hill overlooking Lake Lachrymose, inhabited by killer leeches. Of course, Count Olaf tracks them down and, disguised as a sailboat captain, fools Aunt Josephine-at least for a while. Olaf is ultimately exposed but not before he pushes Aunt Josephine into the leech-infested waters. So, the Baudelaires must find a new caregiver, who will be revealed to readers in "Book the Fourth." The writing is tongue-in-cheek John Bellairs, E. Nesbit, or Edward Eager with a little Norton Juster thrown in. The style is similar to the many books with old houses and rocky shores in Maine or Great Britain including the Edward Goreyesque illustrations. Unfortunately, the book misses the mark. The narrator is humorous but intrusive, explaining words and providing many obvious clues that surface later. Aunt Josephine's constant correction of vocabulary and grammar, while at first humorous, becomes annoying. The book is really not bad; it just tries too hard and there are so many similar books that are much better.-Marlene Gawron, Orange County Library, Orlando, FL Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

A Series of Unfortunate Events #3: The Wide Window

Chapter One

The stretch of road that leads out of the city, past Hazy Harbor and into the town of Tedia, is perhaps the most unpleasant in the world. It is called Lousy Lane. Lousy Lane runs through fields that are a sickly gray color, in which a handful of scraggly trees produce apples so sour that one only has to look at them to feel ill. Lousy Lane traverses the Grim River, a body of water that is nine-tenths mud and that contains extremely unnerving fish, and it encircles a horseradish factory, so the entire area smells bitter and strong.

I am sorry to tell you that this story begins with the Baudelaire orphans traveling along this most displeasing road, and that from this moment on, the story only gets worse. Of all the people in the world who have miserable lives-and, as I′m sure you know, there are quite a few-the Baudelaire youngsters take the cake, a phrase which here means that more horrible things have happened to them than just about anybody. Their misfortune began with an enormous fire that destroyed their home and killed both their loving parents, which is enough sadness to last anyone a lifetime, but in the case of these three children it was only the bad beginning. After the fire, the siblings were sent to live with a distant relative named Count Olaf, a terrible and greedy man. The Baudelaire parents had left behind an enormous fortune, which would go to the children when Violet came of age, and Count Olaf was so obsessed with getting his filthy hands on the money that he hatched a devious plan thatgives me nightmares to this day. He was caught just in time, but he escaped and vowed to get ahold of the Baudelaire fortune sometime in the future. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny still had nightmares about Count Olaf′s shiny, shiny eyes, and about his one scraggly eyebrow, and most of all about the tattoo of an eye he had on his ankle. It seemed like that eye was watching the Baudelaire orphans wherever they went.

So I must tell you that if you have opened this book in the hope of finding out that the children lived happily ever after, you might as well shut it and read something else. Because Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, sitting in a small, cramped car and staring out the windows at Lousy Lane, were heading toward even more misery and woe. The Grim River and the horseradish factory were only the first of a sequence of tragic and unpleasant episodes that bring a frown to my face and a tear to my eye whenever I think about them.

The driver of the car was Mr. Poe, a family friend who worked at a bank and always had a cough. He was in charge of overseeing the orphans′ affairs, so it was he who decided that the children would be placed in the care of a distant relative in the country after all the unpleasantness with Count Olaf.

"I′m sorry if you′re uncomfortable," Mr. Poe said, coughing into a white handkerchief, "but this new car of mine doesn′t fit too many people. We couldn′t even fit any of your suitcases. In a week or so I′ll drive back here and bring them to you."

"Thank you," said Violet, who at fourteen was the oldest of the Baudelaire children. Anyone who knew Violet well could see that her mind was not really on what Mr. Poe was saying, because her long hair was tied up in a ribbon to keep it out of her eyes. Violet was an inventor, and when she was thinking up inventions she liked to tie her hair up this way. It helped her think clearly about the various gears, wires, and ropes involved in most of her creations."After living so long in the city," Mr. Poe continued, "I think you will find the countryside to be a pleasant change. Oh, here is the turn. We′re almost there."

"Good," Klaus said quietly. Klaus, like many people on car rides, was very bored, and he was sad not to have a book with him. Klaus loved to read, and at approximately twelve years of age had read more books than many people read in their whole lives. Sometimes he read well into the night, and in the morning could be found fast asleep, with a book in his hand and his glasses still on.

"I think you′ll like Dr. Montgomery, too," Mr. Poe said. "He has traveled a great deal, so he has plenty of stories to tell. I′ve heard his house is filled with things he′s brought from all the places he′s been."

"Bax!" Sunny shrieked. Sunny, the youngest of the Baudelaire orphans, often talked like this, as infants tend to do. In fact, besides biting things with her four very sharp teeth, speaking in fragments was how Sunny spent most of her time. It was often difficult to tell what she meant to say. At this moment she probably meant something along the lines of "I′m nervous about meeting a new relative." All three children were.

"How exactly is Dr. Montgomery related to us?" Klaus asked.

"Dr. Montgomery is-let me see-your late father′s cousin′s wife′s brother. I think that′s right. He′s a scientist of some sort, and receives a great deal of money from the government."

As a banker, Mr. Poe was always interested in money.

"What should we call him?" Klaus asked.

"You should call him Dr. Montgomery," Mr. Poe replied, "unless he tells you to call him Montgomery. Both his first and last names are Montgomery, so it doesn′t really make much difference."

"His name is Montgomery Montgomery?" Klaus said, smiling.

"Yes, and I′m sure he′s very sensitive about that, so don′t ridicule him," Mr. Poe said, coughing again into his handkerchief. "′Ridicule′ means ′tease.′"

Klaus sighed. "I know what ′ridicule′ means," he said. He did not add that of course he also knew not to make fun of someone′s name. Occasionally, people thought that because the orphans were unfortunate, they were also dim-witted.

Copyright C 1999 Lemony Snicket

A Series of Unfortunate Events #3: The Wide Window. Copyright (c) by Lemony Snicket . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Lemony Snicket had an unusual education which may or may not explain his ability to evade capture. He is the author of the 13 volumes in A Series of Unfortunate Events, several picture books including The Dark, and the books collectively titled All The Wrong Questions.

Lemony Snicket had an unusual education which may or may not explain his ability to evade capture. He is the author of the 13 volumes in A Series of Unfortunate Events, several picture books including The Dark, and the books collectively titled All The Wrong Questions.

Brief Biography

Snicket is something of a nomad. Handler lives in San Francisco, California.
Date of Birth:
February 28, 1970
Place of Birth:
Handler was born in San Francisco in 1970, and says Snicket's family has roots in a land that's now underwater.
Handler is a 1992 graduate of Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

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The Wide Window: Book the Third (A Series of Unfortunate Events) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 388 reviews.
Joseph Petruzzo More than 1 year ago
the books get scarer and scarer! i love sloving the mysteries beffore i find the answer. if you are a great reader like me, you wouldnt care that it is sad; just that it is a GREAT book! must read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was amazed how well this book was written. The nice part is when he jumps in and speaks to you the reader. Its not sad just at the end. The book keeps you on the edge your seat and is great for any age readers. ENJOY!
417-513 More than 1 year ago
When i read this book, it was like watching a movie! All that was missing was the popcorn and soda!
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Those poor Baudelaire orphans. After the death of their beloved Uncle Monty, the third installment of Lemony Snicket's tale has Violet, Klaus, and Sunny heading toward the home of yet another new guardian. Left by Mr. Poe at Damocles Dock at the edge of Lake Lachrymose for the taxi that will take them to the home of Josephine Anwhistle, the orphans must once again wonder about what fate holds in store for them. Will the gramatically correct dowager be kind like Uncle Morty, or retched like Count Olaf?

It turns out that Aunt Josephine is a mixture of the two. Although she welcomes them into her home, the woman is so terrified by everything--the stove, glass doorknobs, radiators, and even realtors--that the children are hard pressed to enjoy their dinners of cold cucumber soup and their presents of a baby doll, train set, and rattle. Living high above the Lake that is full of the leeches that devoured Josephine's husband, Ike, the three Baudelaire children have a hard time convincing their Aunt to even leave the house.

On a trip to the market, however, who should appear once again with yet another despicable plan to steal the Baudelaire fortune but Count Olaf--this time in the disguise of Captain Sham, a man with an eye patch and peg leg who has opened a boating company of his own. Josephine, of course, is at once enamored of the dashing Captain, and Mr. Poe, as always, is not convinced by the children's claim that Captain Sham and Count Olaf are one and the same. What follows is another does of typical Baudelaire fair--diabolical plans, a terrible hurricane named Herman, a bizarre restaurant named the Anxious Clown, a boat ride across a leech-filled lake, a rescue at Curdled Cave, and another meet-up with Count Olaf's nasty associates.

THE WIDE WINDOW is another winning story in the tales of the Baudelaire orphans. The story took me about an hour and a half to read, and is suitable for children around ages 9 and up. Again, however, you'll need to base your decision of its suitability based on the maturity of your children, as this book is just as dark as the first two.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS BOOKS!!!! THIS IS A GREAT STORY!!! It has great pictures throughout the book, Lemony Snicket wrote it like it really happened, Violet, Klaus and Sunny get into some of THE WORST situations yet, and the story is great! It is SO absorbing, fast-paced, and thrilling. When Snicket writes, I can see it in my head, like it's a movie. It is great to read just for fun, for reading skills, and sharing with your friends. I like the way Snicket writes, because when he uses unusual words (which he does a lot) he tells you what they mean, and he has a very observant perspective of everything. GREAT BOOK! A BOOK THAT YOU HAVE TO READ!(very unfortunate)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Total 5 star book!If you dont like this series you are a loser.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
hi i return to do best books ever published2 in this book the wide window the orphans go to live with there aunt josephine but as usual count olaf finds them and then aunt josephine goes to hide in a cave then they find her and then count olaf finds them and aunt josephine is tossed over board off of count olafs ship . See you next time on best books ecer published
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Iwas up all night trying to finish this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite book,I coudn't survive withpout it!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im ten years old and in fourth grade and i have to say THIS BOOK IS AMAZING!!!! Lemony Snicket has great taste!!! Nobody can write a book like him. I ultra recomend this book. They say it's sooo horible. It is not!!! My favorite book in the series. BUY IT!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book you know how snicket calls it 'miserable' cuz i was reading the reptile room (book 2 of 13) and i felt miserable. Read the whole series and make me nomiserable... jk but its a great series im rereading it
Anne Lam More than 1 year ago
once u read it u just cant put it down. this series is the most amazing series ive ever read!!! TRY IT FOR YOUR SELF.
Michael-Lawson More than 1 year ago
This book is very dark and intresting. It can also be thrilling at sometimes. If you are depressed, you really wouldn't want to read this book but that's just my opinion,you can if you want to. This is the 3rd of the 13th in the series. Mr.Snicket has other books besides the series but the series is more popular. In the 1st & 2ND book, the orphans (Violet, Kluas, and Sunny Baudelaire) loose their parents in a fire and leave the fortune behind to Violet when she is of age. In the first book, they are put in the custody of Count Olaf, a relative that is only keeping them for their money. He abuses them and tries to get their fortune . In the end of the first book, he fails and the orphans excape. In the 2nd book, The Baudelaire's are put in the custody of one of their uncles. Count Olaf disguesses himself into someone else and kills their uncle and once again tries to get their fortune. The orphanes fight him and the banker that is handling their fortune affairs arives just in time to same them and escape. In this book the Baudelaires are with their aunt and Count Olaf is back in another disguse to try once again to steal their fortune.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story is a story that created great interest because I was never able to stop reading. I found the story thrilling and engaging. Many times I would betray other responsibilities in order to read more of this book. I would recommend this to anyone who wants a book that is different, sad and brings great appreciation for the little things by giving the reader something filled with heartache with a tiny hint of joy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I want it
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book by Lemony Snicket is written very well. It's mysterious and suspensful. Once you read, you don't want to stop reading! It keeps you going! Even though, the Baudelaries and Aunt Josephine have lives of misery, they try to keep good memories of the past in mind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so scary and weird I love it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book really touched my heart
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very exciting and sad. I couldbnot put this book down! You will understand it even more if you have read other books in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books in the series, and I love it so much! I always wanted to read it every day! It really brings me to the edge of my seat!! I recommend this book if you like some action and adventure in your lives!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
These books are very good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She is scare of stoves doornobs and phones and much much more
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fun book thats always leaving you wondering what gonna happen next
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book rocked my soul. It will make u cry. Want to tear the book apart. And feel so bad for them. (Spoiler alert) i cant believe the lady ( i forgot her name ) dies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not the best, but it is REALLY good. I love reading the series. Im on book 3.