Before I quote the section which made me laugh let me give you a rundown of what happens. When we last left the Baudelaires they were discovered by Count Olaf to be disguised as carnival freaks. Sunny,the baby, was in the car with Count Olaf and his minions and Violet and Klaus were being hauled in a carnival caravan behind the car. Kevin the ambidextrous freak cut the rope connecting the caravan to the car, thus sending Violet and Klaus rolling off the Mortmain Mountains to their impending deaths. But wait ...before we find out what happens...let me tell you my favorite quote from the book:
The children were quiet again, and tried to think as best they could in the cold and the dark. Deciding on the right thing to do in a situation is a bit like deciding on the right thing to wear to a party. It is easy to decide on what is wrong to wear to a party, such as deep-sea diving equipment or a pair of large pillows, but deciding what is right is much trickier. It might seem right to wear a navy blue suit, for instance, but when you arrive there could be several other people wearing the same thing, and you could end up being handcuffed due to a case of mistaken identity. It might seem right to wear your favorite pair of shoes, but there could be a sudden flood at the party, and your shoes would be ruined. And it might seem right to wear a suit of armor to the party, but there could be several other people wearing the same thing, and you could end up being caught in a flood due to a case of mistaken identity, and find yourself drifting out to sea wishing that you were wearing deep-sea diving equipment after all. The truth is that you can never be sure if you have decided on the right thing until the party is over, and by then it is too late to go back and change your mind, which is why the world is filled with people doing terrible things and wearing ugly clothing, and so few volunteers who are able to stop them.
This is another fine example of the Douglas Adams type humor infused with great action. I think I even detect a little Bob Dylan prose in there.
Where was I? Oh yeah, well, thanks to Violet's inventing skills Klaus and Violet escape. They then begin the trek up to the highest peak of the Mortmain Mountains in search of the secret hideout of V.F.D. and possibly to rescue Sunny. On this trek they meet up with some vicious snow gnats and the even more vicious Carmelita Spats. Carmalita was the annoying brat that gave the orphans a hard time at Prufrock Preparatory School in the book "The Austere Acadamy." Well now she's the False Spring Queen for the Snow Scouts. The snow scouts have a strange member that knows the code of the V.F.D. and soon befriends the orphans. The three sneak away from the Snow Scouts to find the V.F.D. headquarters, only to find it in ashes. Yet another strange fire. We then learn that the mysterious scout is a survivor of another fire.
Meanwhile, Sunny is having to do all the cooking for Count Olaf and his evil troupe. Her use of language is getting better but the bad guys still think she's only babbling. So she's able to listen in on some secret plans and help her siblings out, once they rescue her.
Okay now you have the gist of the book. Go out and read it. It is funny and a great read. And don't forget to get those kids the books so they can read and maybe the whole family can have a fun discussion about books.