Is All the Wrong Questions by Lemony Snicket a good series? Yes. But that’s the wrong question. What you should be asking is, “Does my child like mysterious books that don’t take themselves too seriously?”
I’ve read the first two books in Lemony Snicket’s All the Wrong Questions series, and I found them thoroughly enjoyable. The novels are the fabricated early history of Lemony Snicket (pen name of Daniel Handler). The stories take place in an undefined period of time in a strange fictional town called Stained-by-the-Sea (not sure it could be categorized steampunk, but it has that feel). Snicket is an apprentice in an unnamed agency whose job seems to be solving crimes. However, he has a larger objective, which is only hinted at in the first two books. His mentor is pompous and bumbling, and, in Snicket’s world, kids pretty much behave as adults. The adults, on the other hand are either fools, absent, or evil. This fact is really my only issue with the books (though I get that adults need to be largely absent from children’s books in order for the story to progress). Snicket’s character was very likable and clearly tries to do the right thing. Each book is a stand-alone mystery but is clearly also part of a larger story.
My favorite thing about All the Wrong Questions is that it doesn’t take itself seriously. Snicket’s characters constantly pause to define words (similar to A Series of Unfortunate Events). The town and mystery scenarios are totally improbable (such as taxi driving kids, pen ink farmed from squids, etc.), but it all works together to create an intriguing world.
That being said, do you recall the right question? Does your child like mysterious books that don’t take themselves too seriously? Although I thought the books were fun, my daughter (almost 10) couldn’t stand them. She didn’t like the strange, improbable town with its mysterious circumstances (although she enjoys both mystery and fantasy books).
And that’s ok. These are not classics that every child must read. But if your child likes fun, interesting stories that don’t take themselves too seriously, give All the Wrong Questions a try.
What book have you enjoyed that your child has hated?