The Austere Academy

By: 

Number of Pages: 

221

Minimum grade level: 

4th

Discussion Questions

Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens!

  1. On page three the author tells us, "..you are about to become acquainted with rude, violent, filthy Carmelita Spats, and if you can't stand reading about her, you had best put this book down and read something else, because it only gets worse from here." Did this make you feel like reading more or putting the book down?
  2. Is Sunny a very good secretary? Did you get a picture in your mind of a baby trying to answer a phone or use a stapler? Did you get other mental pictures while reading this book?
  3. What did you enjoy about the illustrations in the book? Do you prefer books with pictures or without? How would this book be different without the pictures?
  4. Does Sunny seem more like a baby or a grown-up?
  5. The author seems to enjoy taking time to explain what words or phrases mean. Did you enjoy these explanations?
  6. One of these explanations was about the word "triptych." Can you imagine yourself ever using this word?
  7. "Friends can make you feel the world is smaller and less sneaky than it really is" (p. 52). What does meeting Duncan & Isadora Quagmire do for the Baudelaires?
  8. The author hints about bad things happening to the Quagmires. Did this prepare you for the ending? Were you still surprised?
  9. Violet and Klaus have to memorize many things for their comprehensive tests. Have you ever had questions as bad as how deep was my mother's casserole dish in centimeters?
  10. This book seems to be about an endless amount of troubles. Did it make you feel cheerful or sad? Why?
  11. Why do you think the Lemony Snicket books are so popular?

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.