My 7-year old daughter and I were glued to Lemony Snicket's The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) from beginning to end. Her friend from across the street even stopped in and caught the last chapter as I read aloud. This neighbor girl will hardly sit still for anything but was riveted to her seat as we approached the climax of the story. I confess to being as curious as to what was going to happen to the Baudelaire children as they were!
The story follows three wealthy orphans who are forced to live with a distant relative after their parents die in a fire. There are several delightful twists of plot throughout. Count Olaf is a deliciously dastardly fellow. It was written with a classy style and I particularly enjoyed the way Snicket approaches children. Tolkien once said, "Never mind about the young! I am not interested in the 'child' as such, modern or otherwise, and certainly have no intention of meeting him/her half way, or a quarter of the way. It is a mistaken thing to do anyway, either useless (when applied to the stupid) or pernicious (when inflicted on the gifted)." Snicket must have taken Tolkien's wise advice, because the book doesn't talk down to children at all but speaks to them on a even keel. We're looking forward to the next one with much anticipation--"anticipation" here meaning, "waiting with much eagerness."