The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events #2)
If you have picked up this book with the hope of finding a simple and cheery tale, I’m afraid you have picked up the wrong book altogether. The story may seem cheery at first, when the Baudelaire children spend time in the company of some interesting reptiles and a giddy uncle, but don’t be fooled. If you know anything at all about the unlucky Baudelaire children, you already know that even pleasant events lead down the same road to misery.
In fact, within the pages you now hold in your hands, the three siblings endure a car accident, a terrible odor, a deadly serpent, a long knife, a large brass reading lamp, and the appearance of a person they’d hoped never to see again.
I am bound to record these tragic events, but you are free to put this book back on the shelf and seek something lighter.
With all due respect,
My thoughts on this book:
In The Bad Beginning, the Baudelaire children lost their parents and everything they had before being shipped off to Count Olaf’s house. Count Olaf would be their caretaker until they were of age. Quickly the children realize that Count Olaf is evil and only wants to get his hands on their inherited fortune. After countless shenanigans, the children are finally whisked away from Count Olaf and Mr. Poe delivers them to Dr. Montgomery a.k.a. Uncle Monty. This begins The Reptile Room.
Mr. Poe stepped up to the door and rang the doorbell that was one of the loudest the children have ever heard. After a moment’s pause they could hear approaching footsteps, and Violet, Klaus, and Sunny all looked at one another. They had no way of knowing, of course, that very soon there would be more misfortune within their unlucky family, but they nevertheless felt uneasy. Would Dr. Montgomery be a kind person? they wondered. Would he at least be better than Count Olaf? Could he possibly be worse?
Uncle Monty seems like a kind and safe person. The children like him and it seems they are finally safe to enjoy some coconut cream cake and an occasional evening movie. They each get their own room and their own chores for the trip they’ll be taking. Uncle Monty explains his plan to visit Peru with the children to go reptile exploring. Klaus is instructed to read books on reptiles, Sunny bites rope, and Violet works on traps that they need for the expedition. They’re very excited to go on the adventure, until they meet Uncle Monty’s assistant Stephano who is really Count Olaf in disguise.
Everything spins out of control again as the children try to convince the others that Count Olaf is up to his old schemes again. Once again, it’s going to be up to the children to solve the problem.
“Well, let’s try to hash this out,” Violet said, using an expression which here means “talk about something at length until we completely understand it.”
We really enjoyed this installment in the series, even more than the first book. I felt that there were positive aspects in this installment as well. For a time, the children feel safe and engage in normal everyday events, that is until Stephano shows up, but once again the strong children stand by each other and work to solve the problems they face.
The writing is great and we thought it was really easy to follow just like the first book. We loved the illustrations and all the new vocabulary words/phrases that are introduced for children to learn. It was a nice surprise that multiple times throughout the book there were events that were not in the movie which kept us interested.
Overall, this is another winner for us and left completely open for the third book The Wide Window.
- Age Range: 8 – 12 years
- Grade Level: 5 – 6
- Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events (Book 2)
- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; Later Printing edition (August 25, 1999)
- ISBN-10: 0064407675
- ISBN-13: 978-0064407670