Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Penultimate Peril

"Oh, Mom, I've got something bad for you," DD#2 tells me after our troop meeting last night.

"What is it? A deficiency?" I ask. She is notorious for not completing all of her homework or for leaving a piece of it at home.

She hands me a book. It's kind of a peach and orange. The title is The Penultimate Peril.

DD#2 loves A Series of Unfortunate Events. These are a series of books written by "Lemony Snicket." The first in the series is titled The Bad Beginning chronicles the travails of the Baudelaire orphans. Mr. Snicket throws big words, like "penultimate," into his narrative and then adds somewhat humorous (but accurate) definitions.

Violet, the eldest, is also an inventor. Klaus, the middle child, is a reader. And Sunny is the baby who likes to bite things.

The movie came out last spring or summer and captured the feeling of the first three books quite well, although DD#2 was upset that the ending of the movie was not the same as the ending of the books. The actors who played Violet, Klaus, and Sunny were wonderful, but I'm afraid will grow up too fast to continue to play them. Unlike Harry Potter, the orphans in A Series of Unfortunate Events do not seem to age. The tone of the series is different as well. It's kind of tongue-in-cheek bleak.

Also, there is no magic. And the books are under 200 pages. But there are 12 of them, so far, with #13 expected to be the last one.

Barnes & Noble had a "Misfortune Teller" (also known as a "cootie catcher") that you could print and cut out on their e-mail announcement. But I can't seem to find it on their web page. So DD#2 and I knew the book was out. Little did I expect to find it at her school book fair the next day, which, as it happened, is also our penultimate Parent-Student-Teacher conference at that school. Next year she will be in 8th Grade and that will be her last one. And the last for Hubs and I as well.

Before then, however, there is the book.

"You know where it goes," I told her.

"In your room. It's for Christmas," she sighs. She won't have time to read it until vacation, anyway. And I'll do my best not to read it ahead of time. Although I can read a book without cracking the binding. A very useful skill!