Goldfish Ghost

goldfish ghost

Goldfish Ghost

Lemony Snicket
Illustrations by Lisa Brown
A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press, 2017

From the dust jacket, “Goldfish Ghost was born on the surface of the water in a boy’s room. Feeling lonely, he sets out to find some company.

“As he floats over the neighborhood, past the fishing pier, and into a cheerful seaside town, he discovers that not many people pay attention to ghosts.

“Off he floats, searching for the perfect home and the perfect friend…

“And then he hears a voice….”

This is Lemony Snicket book is a good one – a bit weird (whoever heard of a goldfish ghost?) (and who would think of one?) but a wonderful, touching little tale of a lonely goldfish. He floats around looking for companionship and finding no one who even notices he’s around he floats back to his own goldfish bowl only to find a live goldfish living there. Now, he not only has no friend, he has no home either. So off he floats to wherever the wind takes him. Will he find a companion? Someone who can see him and be with him? Yes, he does but I won’t tell you any more – no spoilers here!

I liked this story a lot and the illustrations are wonderful. I also decided that the artist must be a cat lover because she hides a little kitty in her pictures wherever she can – kind of what mom does in her collages.

Rating 4 out of 5 paws – Even if you don’t believe in ghosts I hope you will like this story because it reminds us that somewhere out in the world there is a companionable soul for everyone – we just need to find each other.



29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy

29 myths

29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy

Lemony Snicket
Illustrations by Lisa Brown
McSweeney’s McMullens, 2014

From the book jacket: “Renowned investigator Lemony Snicket has compiled 29 myths about the Swinster Pharmacy in the vain hope that he could help us shine some light on this bewildering establishment.”

With the bewildering introduction from the book jacket I should have guessed that the book wouldn’t make a lick of sense. I don’t know why I keep reading Snicket books, but I do – maybe I keep hoping I will enjoy them as much as I did The Series of Unfortunate Events; at least those books made sense in a Snicket-sort-of-way. But then, maybe that’s what Snicket wants – confounding books with confounding nonsensical sentences strung together in an attempt to create some sort of story. And that’s what this book is like. Each ‘myth’ is not a myth in any sense of the word – just 29 statements that offers no information on what the heck the story is supposed to be about. Oh, well. I’ll keep attempting to read his books because I hope they will be good. I don’t mind weird; but I do mind absolute total nonsense.

Rating 2 out of 5 paws because the only saving grace in the book are the illustrations, and that there’s a black cat on almost every page!




File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents

13 suspicious incidents

File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents: Reports 1-6

Lemony Snicket
Art by Seth
Hachette Book Group, 2014

From back of the book: “Attention: Please find herein thirteen (13) cases investigated by Lemony Snicket during his apprentice ship in the town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea. Every detail of his inquiries into local kidnappings, supernatural occurrences, violent vandalism, and food theft has been described and cataloged in these pages. For security reasons, the conclusions to these suspicious incidents have been carefully hidden. You can find them easily at the back of the book.

“If you are not a member of our secret organization, hello there. This is a blank book which you shouldn’t read.”

It’s been a while since I read the series by Lemony Snicket, “All the Wrong Questions” but this book (and its companion volumes of the same name, “Reports 7-13” and “Book 2.5”) should be read around the same time. As they all focus on the central character, a young spy named Lemony Snicket and the reader follows him around on his adventures. When I read the original series I thought about reading these ‘suspicious incident reports’ then but didn’t and now I wish I had. While these books are definitely imaginative and a classic ‘Snicket’ (a word which here means “oddly written, bizarre subject matter, and quite fun in an obtuse and loquacious sort of way”) book, there’s not a lot of background to fully flesh out the secondary characters for a new reader. That doesn’t mean the stories aren’t enjoyable, it just took me a little bit to get back into the ‘Snicket’ mindset and take everything I was reading with a very large chunk of salt.

Lemony Snicket is, well, Lemony Snicket and if you’ve never read his books you won’t know what I mean. If you want to try, please do so but leave your rational mind on the title page – you won’t need it while enjoying his light madness. If you have read his books, you’ll most definitely enjoy this one – but read it right after (or during) “All the Wrong Questions” for the greatest effect (a phrase which here means “you’ll need ‘phone-a-friend’ or you’ll be lost without a lifeline to sanity”).

Rating 4 out of 5 paws because in Lemony Snicket’s reality you can only judge his books against his other books and this one is pretty good – also, I was able to figure out most of the mysteries before I read the solutions!



Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?


Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?
All the Wrong Questions, 4

Lemony Snicket
Art by Seth
Little, Brown and Company, 2015

Finally we come to the conclusion of the mystery of All The Wrong Questions! With this book most of all the questions and have the answers, at least one person is murdered and Hangfire is vanquished! All of our characters return and oddly enough, all end up on the same train back to the City. There are some unanswered questions which lends belief that there may yet be another Lemony adventure in our future!!

Main Characters
⇐*Lemony Snicket,  an apprentice in the VFD who has been in the near defunct town of Stain’d-By-The-Sea for several months trying to thwart the machinations of one villain named Hangfire. The nearly-13 year old boy has been beaten up, kidnapped, arrested, lied to, lied about and been the victim of theft so many times its amazing he still wants to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Continuing Characters
atwq1a⇐⇐*Moxie Mallahan,  Lemony’s main associate in his ad hoc group of VFD volunteers, she rescues him from certain death.
*S. Theodora Markson , Lemony’s chaperone, sneaks out in the middle of the night  – for what reason? And why does Lemony feel it necessary to follow her?
*Ellington Feint,  finally we learn whether her continued treachery is for good or for bad. Is she reunited with her father? Well, yes, and no. Hmm, no spoilers here.
*Pip and Squeak,  drivers of their father’s cab, help Lemony catch the last train out of the town. This train, by the way, also carriers prisoners to the City for trial, namely Feint and Qwerty.
*And speaking of Dashiell Qwerty, oh the horrors! Here is a spoiler – the nice librarian is murdered on the train!! But who did it? Theodora was caught in the cell with him so she must have killed him – at least that’s what the Officers Mitchum believe. But did she?
*Ornette Lost is there with her paper sculpting skills, leaving miniscule clues for Lemony to find and figure out.
*Cleo Knight and Jake Hix, brilliant chemist and master chef, show up on the train with food and answers.
*Kellar Haines is reunited with his sister Lizzie who had been kidnapped by Hangfire.
SCAN0005⇐*Hangfire, the villain of all villains, thinks nothing of murdering, pillaging, burning and taking what he wants. As he explains it toward the end of the book, it all started for a good cause. Wait until you find out who he is!!
atwq1abc⇐⇐*Bombinating Beast statue – Lemony finally recovers it, figures out what Hangfire wants it for, and uses it! Another spoiler – the stature is actually a whistle of sorts that calls a Bombinating Beast to you – yep – a real, live, scary, hungry beast!!! Can you guess who it eats??

Whew!! What a book! What a story! It wasn’t until I got close to the end did I guess at who Hangfire was. When Ellington was shot I was upset but she came back to life so it was okay. Throughout the 4 books Lemony was also sketching the story of his sister Kit and the troubles she was having in the City. That part of the story isn’t really settled. Somehow she ends up on the train going back to the City, so maybe there’s another in the series coming our way one day. And Lemony? We see him walking off into the sunset to his next adventure.

The book is written in typical Lemony Snicket style – both loquacious and descriptive – loquacious is a word which here means using lots and lots of words to describe what he is describing which may mean up to 500 words just to describe what a monster looks like. That type of writing takes some getting used to but once you do, you don’t even notice it any more.  As I’ve said in the other reviews, if you love mysteries but hate convoluted and twisted story-telling, you won’t “get”  it. But if you do, then read this series. The mystery is well written and  the answers are very well hidden. I dare you to figure it out!! 

We love Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) and wait with bated breath for his next book!!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws!

cropped-101_29491.jpgReviewer: Toby

series of unfortunate events gif | Tumblr  Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket's dark humor appeals to children | Pittsburgh Post ...  Daniel Handler

UK Cover


I never did find out!

Shouldn’t You Be in School?

Shouldn’t You Be in School?
All the Wrong Questions, 3

Lemony Snicket
Art by Seth
Little, Brown and Company, 2014

This is the third in a series of four books by Lemony Snicket with Lemony Snicket as the almost-13-year-old boy protagonist trying to solve a big mystery in the almost-ghost-town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea. In this book the few children left in the city are in danger from Hangfire for an as yet unkown reason. In order to capture all the children, Hangfire burns down the only public school so all children have to go to the only private school in the area. SCAN0005aWhat is Hangfire going to do with the children? Why does he want to keep the drugged? And what is he going to do with all those honeydew melons? Those are all the wrong questions!!!

 Main Characters
*Lemony Snicket – we have now learned that Lemony is a part of VFD (if you read A Series of Unfortunate Events, then you are familiar with VFD), a secret society for the betterment of mankind. Even though his sister needs him in the City, Lemony feels he must solve this mystery first.
*Moxie Mallahan – Lemony’s associate and reporter for the defunct local newspaper. She joins him on his quest to solve the mystery.

Secondary Characters
SCAN0002⇐*Officers Harvey and Mimi Mitchum, police officers of Stain’d by the Sea; they been in the story since the first book so I figured it was about time I mentioned them. They, like all the adults in this book, are inept at their job and completely snookered by their bully son, Stew.
*Sharon Haines, an adult who may or may not be one of the ‘good-guys’.
SCAN0001*Kellar Haines, Sharon’s son and helps Lemony and Moxie figure out what’s going on.  ⇒  ⇒  ⇒
*Jake Hix, the sweetheart of Cleo Knight, whom we met in the last book. Jake works in a diner with his aunt and frequently makes killer meals for his friends.

Continuing Characters
SCAN0003 ⇐*S. Theodora Markson, Lemony’s chaperone and woefully inept are her job keeping tabs on her apprentice.
*Ellington Feint, a girl a little older than Lemony searching for her father who has been kidnapped by Hangfire. She is also the one who keeps stealing the Bombinating Beast statue from Lemony every time he finds it again. Just who’s side is she on?
*Pip and Squeak, brothers who drive their father’s taxi (we have yet to meet their father!) and really help out Lemony in his fractured plan.
*Dashiell Qwerty, the sub-librarian of the local library and is framed by Hangfire for burning down several buildings in the town. Ultimately the library is targeted for burning – but why? What secret does the library hold?
SCAN0005*Hangfire, so while this book⇒  answers some   questions, it only deepens the mystery of:
Who is Hangfire?
Why is he in Stain’d-by-the-Sea?
What does he want with the Bombinating Beast?
When will Lemony figure all of this out? In book four!!! I can’t wait! Stay tuned for the finale!!

Another great book from Snicket. A quick and easy read; however, the mystery is not easy to figure out. I really can’t wait to read book four. I’ve already said that – maybe I should just end this review and go read it!  See ya!!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws!

selfie 092015ddReviewer: Toby

  Daniel Handler

Lemony Snicket

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Quotable Lemony