A Parent’s Guide to The Grim Grotto (Book)

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

The Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler)

Type: Adventure, Children’s

Basic Plot: The children have been rescued by a V.F.D. volunteer and are now looking for the mysterious sugar bowl.


Plot: 4/5 Well Done: The plot was very well put together. Events were connected, things happening that at the time had little to no importance, but later had a huge importance to the story. Relationships were also more focused on in this book.

Writing Style and Setup: 4/5 Well Done: The writing style is as good as usual. Since the books are much longer than when the series first started, the author now has more space to use his style. He takes a little more time to drag out his

Graphics: 4/5 Well Done: The graphics were done in the same style as the ones in the previous book, pencil sketches. They were again scattered with clues about what would and will happen.

Moral: 2½/5 A Good Moral: This book again does not focus really on morals, but the morals it does focus on are mostly good ones. One of the morals in the book is that some things are better not known, especially things that have to do with sin. The children wonder many things in the book that the adults around them won’t tell them, but in the end the author says that there are some things in the world no one should ever know about. The Bible says in Romans 16:19, “For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.”

Another thing discussed is that “people are neither noble nor evil.” A man tells the children that everybody does both good and bad and that no one is truly good or bad in the world. He is half right, as even the righteous in history have done and wrong and people known for doing bad do sometimes do right. God’s way of looking at this though is not that people are therefore neither good or bad, but that all people are bad. In Romans 3:10 it says, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:”. People who do wicked things are wicked, an only those saved by Jesus Christ can say they are righteous through him.

Overall: 4/5 Well Done: This book is recommendable is quality for boys and girls eleven to twelve and older.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: ½/5 Slightly Suggestive: A boy and a girl are accused of flirting. A girl kisses a boy.

Violence: 1/5 Light and Mentioned Violence: “Violently” and “violent” are used to describe.  A man mentions that a shark hurt his leg. A woman hits a group of children and is mentioned hitting children with a giant noodle, though it does not leave any injuries. Descriptions and examples are used that might be considered violent. A man mentions throwing “thumbtacks” at a baby a long time ago. A man mentions different ways he could kill some children, including drowning and strangling.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 1/5 Some Misuse: God’s name is taken in vain once.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2/5 Some Intense and Lightly Disturbing Content: It mentions in the dedication that a woman has died. It is mentioned that people died in previous books. Children are threatened throughout the book. A child is poisoned with a mushroom and at a slow rate nearly dies. A woman threatens to beat people with a giant noodle if they don’t do what she says, though it doesn’t really hurt anybody. A man thought some children had died and had “celebrated their death.” A man’s leg is hurt. The poem “My Last Duchess” is mentioned as well as the theme. It is about a jealous man having his wife killed. Characters cry throughout the book.

Religious Issues: 1/5 Slightly Suggestive: While making exclamations, a man mentions Buddha and Charles Darwin. Mythology is mentioned and creatures called Gorgons. There is a picture of one in the book.

Magic: 0/5 None

Others: Wine is mentioned once, but none is drunk in the book.

Overall: 1½/5 All Ages Appropriate: This book is morally recommendable to children ten and older, the worst thing being God’s name being taken in vain once and a key character almost dying.

Here is a link to the twelfth review:



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