Eddie Dickens is sent off to stay with his aunt and uncle and a
riotously funny comedy of errors ensues.
When both Eddie Dickens's parents catch a disease that makes them turn yellow,
go a bit crinkly around the edges, and smell of hot water bottles, it's agreed
he should go and stay with relatives at their house, Awful End. Unfortunately
for Eddie, those relatives are Mad Uncle Jack and Even-Madder Aunt Maud. . . .
This hilarious historical spoof, the first in the Eddie Dickens trilogy, has
been called "a scrumptious cross between Dickens and Monty Python."
A Message to My American Readers
At no extra cost
Greetings from across the Atlantic! I'm so delighted that A House Called
Awful End has been published in the United States that I want to say a few
special words to my American readers. (Yes: YOU.)
The story you're about to read was originally written in installments for my
nephew Ben, who was at boarding school in England while his parents were living
in Russia. Instead of sending him letters about how many cups of tea I'd drunk
or how hard it had rained (there's plenty of tea drinking and rain in England),
I decided to send him a silly adventure story in installments, with a new
episode every two weeks. The book you now have in your hand (or clenched between
your teeth, if you're very nearsighted or hungry) is the result. Of course, when
I was writing those letters, I had no idea that they'd end up becoming this
book, but they did! May your lives be full of such good fortune, too.
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
It should readily be noticed that plot is not a major concern here.
Although there is a bit of it (how Eddie ends up in St. Horrid's Home for
Grateful Orphans, for example), characterization and snide authorly comments
à la Lemony Snicket are emphasized. Those enamored of A Series of Unfortunate
Events will probably be thrilled by this addition to the genre. Shades of
Roald Dahl don't hurt, and neither do Roberts' illustrations inspired by
Monty Python does Dickens for middle school.
New Mexico Kids!
This highly original book…will appeal to sophisticated readers who
enjoy upside-down logic, wacky characters, and a curious, slightly mad sense
The Boston Herald
…a laugh a minute. Children won't be able to put this book down…Outlandishly
The Philadelphia Inquirer
It may remind you of Lemony Snicket's popular series. Actually it's better.
School Library Journal - Farida S Dowler
Gr 4-5. While the setting attempts to evoke the
19th-century England of Charles Dickens, as well as the gallows humor of Roald
Dahl and Lemony Snicket, the meandering, nonsensical sentences and relentless
asides to readers are tedious and overbearing.
Booklist - Ilene Cooper
Gr. 4-7. This frenetic story, told in an arch tone, alternates between winsome and
wearying, but fans of the Snicket style will probably enjoy the way the story
speeds from one fantastical crisis to the next. The Edward Gorey-like
pen-and-ink illustrations add a macabre note to the hilarity. This is very
short, but it is part one of a trilogy.
This book is a celebration of language and absurdity, and its
distinctly British voice adds to its charm…Fans of Monty Python, Spike
Jones, and Fireside Theater will appreciate the zany humor, and rich wordplay
that Ardagh brings to every page…
Starred Review. Roberts's hilarious pen-and-ink drawings of wide-eyed Eddie
and his insane family resemble a cross between Charles Addams and Edward Gorey.
Adult fans of Bleak House and Oliver Twist will appreciate Ardagh's clever
crafting, and kids who lap up Lemony Snicket's series will take quickly to
this tale and clamor for the next. Ages 9-up.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by sara A house Called AWFUL END I thought this book was exciting and so funny to read. i enjoyed this book so much. i reccomand this book to all ages it's wonderful. age: 10
Rated of 5
by Tibby sweet i loved it. at first i thought it would be a knock off of series of unfortunate events, but boy was i wrong. this book was awesome, and i enjoyed it, even at the age of 16. it was darkly humorous, but not dark in a mature way. definately one of the... Read More
Rated of 5
This Was The Best Book Ever
Rated of 5
This book was outlandishly funny, I look forward to finishing the series, despit my age, 13. I am currently doing a report on said novel. Bravo Mr Phillip Ardagh!
Rated of 5
This is a great read, filled with outlandish humor and wacky characters. A quick read that's over almost too soon, so it's good it's part of a trilogy. I'd recommend it to everyone, the humor may be a little sophisticated for younger audiences... Read More
Rated of 5
I thought that the book sounds extremely funny. As I was reading the three page excerpt and the cover flap, I was reminded of a book series that I have been called "A Series of Unfortunate Events . I definatly want to read this book:even... Read More
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