After the Binge

I finished reading three of the books that I recently bought.

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Grade: B+

The Westing Game is a mystery. Sixteen people are invited for the reading of a millionaire’s will. The will is a puzzle and whoever solves it will be the heir. The reader is given all of the clues and has the opportunity to solve the puzzle, too. Enjoyable and not nearly as dated as its 1978 copyright suggests, The Westing Game is an excellent choice for a clever child.

The Adventures of Treehorn by Florence Parry Heide

Grade: A-

This book contains two stories about a little boy named Treehorn, who has magical adventures that the adults in his life can’t seem to notice. Both stories are very short. Even together they are barely large enough to justify the publication of a book, though the stories and the Gorey illustrations are very good. I think that a larger collection of such stories would be a joy. Alas, as far as I know, there are only three Treehorn stories in existence. Luckily, they do sell the three in one volume (The Treehorn Trilogy), which I may buy someday. Though I enjoyed The Adventures of Treehorn, this copy is beaten up and heavily tanned, not worth keeping.

The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the Second) by Lemony Snicket

Grade: B+

I didn’t entirely enjoy the first book in this series (The Bad Beginning). I thought the unfortunate events were too mature for a children’s book, but this series is so popular, I began to wonder if I had missed something. I decided to give the series another chance by reading The Reptile Room.

In The Reptile Room, the Baudelaire orphans find a new home with their giddy uncle, a herpetologist who plans to take them on an adventure to Peru, but bad luck isn’t done with the children yet.

I was once again dismayed by the unfortunate events. Of course, kids do need to learn about the awful things that happen in this world, and maybe the nonthreatening environment of a children’s story could make it easier for them to absorb the information. So, I guess I wouldn’t fret if my child read this series, but as an adult who likes happy endings, I wouldn’t specifically recommend it to anyone. I don’t plan to keep this book and I don’t know if I’ll read any more from this series.

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