#241 – All the Wrong Questions, Book 1: “Who Could That Be at This Hour?” by Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket All the Wrong Questions Book 1 2012 rev 2013

All the Wrong Questions, Book 1: “Who Could That Be at This Hour?”

Lemony Snicket, Author

Seth, illustrator

5 Stars




“Who Could That Be at This Hour?”


            1. Are you curious about what is happening in a seaside town that is no longer by the sea?”

           2. Do you want to know more about a stolen item that wasn’t stolen at all?

          3. So you really think that’s any of your business? Why? What kind of person are you? Are you sure?

         4. Who is that standing behind you?


First Sentence: “There was a town, and there was a girl, and there was a theft.”

The back cover does an intriguing job letting you know what to expect between the pages of Lemony Snicket’s new series All the Wrong Questions.  If you are a fan of his last Series of Unfortunate Events, you might also like this latest series.

All the Wrong Questions is Snicket’s mock-autobiography, beginning late in his twelfth year. During lunch with who may or may not be his parents, Snicket steps into the bathroom and climbs out the window. There is a helmet-wearing driver impatiently waiting in a roadster for Snicket.  This impatient person is Snicket’s mentor, S. Theodora Markson. I suppose due to the fact that Snicket is only twelve, the mentor is called a chaperon, but Markson has no intention to watch over anyone.

The two are headed to Stain’d-by-the-Sea—which no longer is near a sea, nor a tourist town, nor a town with many people—to solve the mystery of a stolen statue, but, the Bombinating Beast may not be stolen. Eccentric folk, maybe ten total, populate the town. For instance, the taxi driver is actually pre-tween twins. (Say that three times fast. Go on, I dare ya’.) Pip steers the taxi and Squeak controls the pedals.

LS1The illustrations are blue, black, and grey in color. They have a graphic novel look and add to the story. In fact, they may even be holding clues. Full Disclosure: this could be a rumor, possibly spread by the author, possibly not.  I like the look. The illustrations add to the old-fashioned detective genre of this book.  Many are multi-picture spreads that keep your eye busy yet delighted.

Do you remember the mythical sea creature whose body has the ability to curl up like a question mark? That creature is one of the references from Unfortunate Events. Unusual or interesting words are again defined, only it is the adult Markson who rattles off these definitions to a groaning Snicket. I like these little references to the Baudelaire’s story. What I like most is the innocence, intelligence, and good nature of Snicket as a kid. He actually seems normal. When he is quiet during the road trip, Markson asks why he is so reticent.

‘Reticent,’ “is a word which here means not talking enough.”

Snicket replies with the ‘oft used road trip phrase: “Are we there yet?”

All the Wrong Questions humor reminds me of Pink Panther’s klutzy Inspector Clouseau, , eccentric characters, snarky adults, and a Lemony Snicket child that is miles away from his adult self. The biggest question is what caused this drastic change in personality? How did he change from Mr. Do-Right to Mr. Do-Crazy-Wrong? Why was Snicket out of the secret spy agency? Is he really a thespian?  Maybe these questions are all wrong, but I hope an answer can be found in one of the next three books.

All the Wrong Questions, Book 1: “Who Could That Be at This Hour?” will entertain boys and girls. One does not need to have read the initial thirteen volumes to understand what is going on it this prequel series. It does stand on its own, with its own unanswered questions to keep you guessing and waiting for the next volume. If you love Lemony Snicket, AKA Daniel Handler, you will love this new series.  And the publisher is certain you will, too. The first printing, last October, was for one million hard cover books.

Read the first two chapters free, HERE!

Daniel Handler Interview, USA Today, HERE!

All the Wrong Questions, Book 1: “Who Could That Be at This Hour?”

Lemony Snicket, author    website  facebook
Seth, illustrator    bio      facebook
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers    website
Released October 23, 2012    
ISBN: 978-0-316-12308-2     Trailer
304 Pages
Grades 4 to 7
Ages: 8 to 12
Copyright © 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Text: Copyright © 2012 by Lemony Snicket
Illustrations: Copyright © 2012 by Seth

My first official published article in Reader’s Shadow Magazine, pgs. 36-37 HERE!

Quick Note About the Rating System

After looking at 2012’s statistics I realized that too many books received a 5 Star rating. That is not to say I erred. But those five stars, which symbolizes an outstanding, brilliant book, were given too freely.   I think 5 star ratings are handed out without much thought on some blogs, review sites, and places like Amazon.  Kid Lit Reviews is trying to aim higher.

This year the ratings are changing.   Five stars will mean less here, but will not hurt an author when a review is published elsewhere. The top rating will be a 6. One extra star for the book that is brilliant in writing and story telling, whether a middle grade novel or a picture book.  The system will stand as is, and the sixth star will be added.  Getting a six will actually mean something.   There will be more about this later.

6 = Brilliant

5 = Above Average, wonderful read

3 – 4 = Average, expected quality for a published book (where most ratings should fall)

2 = Good, but needs work in one or more areas

1 = Poor, should not have been published at this time, needs extensive work

0 = something I have never awarded and never will, the book will simply not be reviewed.

9 thoughts on “#241 – All the Wrong Questions, Book 1: “Who Could That Be at This Hour?” by Lemony Snicket

    • Did you say you are on book 9? I read the entire series. Let me tell you, book 10 is really good., as is eleven and twelve, but thirteen is the best.

      When the kids are picked up once more by the banker fellow they go off to one more relative only this relative . . .and then they escape and go to the . . . where they run into Olaf, quite literally . . . and when that big bomb drops it is the funniest thing you will ever read. Even the fireworks are funny, but only if you really look at the illustration closely.

      The ending is the best. I forget the kid’s names but the oldest goes off to a famous Ivy league school, while the boy is sent to one of the premier science labs to work for the secret agency. The baby sets up her own nursery with lots of things for chewing. The banker fellow bank-rolls the project but then the parents arrive . . oh, wait. 😳

      Uh, Erik, spoilers. I forgot to warn you about spoilers. Oh, so sorry. Forget what you just read. 😛


  1. I have wanted to read Lemony Snicket for a while now, and have never gotten around to it. I think maybe I will start with this one. I love Encyclopedia Brown, so the detective angle sounds right up my alley. Thanks for the review.

    Paul R. Hewlett


    • I think you’ll like this. The entire thing is about solving several mysteries, many of them a bit odd, but then Lemony Snicket is an odd fellow (apologies to Daniel Handler). I found the original series very addictive. I think this one will be almost as much. I had this book pre-ordered almost a year before it was released, so I am a bit biased and probably should have said so in the review.


  2. Wow! I think that this would be entertaining to dogs as well as boys and girls! I love Lemony Snicket. He makes me snicker! I will have to check out this new series! Thanks for the great review!! And congratulations on your published article! It was very informative!


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