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The Wide Window facts for kids

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The Wide Window is the third novel of the children's book series A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. In this novel, the Baudelaire orphans live with their aunt Josephine, who is seemingly scared of everything. The book was published on February 25, 2000 by HarperCollins and illustrated by Brett Helquist.

Quick facts for kids
The Wide Window
The Wide Window USA.PNG
First edition cover
Author Lemony Snicket (pen name of Daniel Handler)
Illustrator Brett Helquist
Cover artist Brett Helquist
Country United States
Language English
Series A Series of Unfortunate Events
Publisher HarperCollins
Publication date
February 25, 2000
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
Pages 214
ISBN 0-06-440768-3
OCLC 41355668
Fic 21
LC Class PZ7.S6795 Wi 2000
Preceded by The Reptile Room 
Followed by The Miserable Mill 


Mr. Poe puts the Baudelaire orphans, Klaus Baudelaire, Sunny Baudelaire and Violet Baudelaire under the care of Aunt Josephine, who lives in a house atop a hill overlooking Lake Lachrymose, a lake so large that hurricanes have occurred in that area. Aunt Josephine is afraid of almost everything from cooking food because she is scared that her stove would explode, to her welcome mat. Her library is filled with books about the grammar of the English language because she had loved grammar.

While helping Aunt Josephine in the grocery store, Violet runs into a sailor named "Captain Sham", who she concludes is Count Olaf in disguise. Aunt Josephine declines to believe this due to Captain Sham's charming personality. That night, the children hear a crash and find out that their new guardian had jumped out of the Wide Window that overlooks Lake Lachrymose, and that before doing so left a note for them informing them that Captain Sham will be their new guardian.

Mr. Poe refuses to believe the children's claim the note was a lie by Count Olaf and takes them to dinner with him at a cheap and grimy restaurant with an over-enthusiastic waiter, the Anxious Clown. Needing a distraction to come up with a strategy, Violet puts peppermints in her own food and that of Klaus and Sunny. Allergic, they break into hives, forcing Count Olaf to allow them to go back to their aunt's house. Klaus shows them the note is in Aunt Josephine's handwriting but coded a hidden message using grammar errors, which all together form the two words 'Curdled Cave'. Once they finish the note, Hurricane Herman hits and the house begins to fall apart into the lake.

With this information, the Baudelaire orphans go to steal a boat from Captain Sham's boat store near Lake Lachrymose to get to Curdled Cave while the hurricane continues on. There, they encounter one of Count Olaf's henchpeople, a large person of undetermined gender. They endure the storm and reach the Curdled Cave, where Aunt Josephine reveals that Count Olaf forced her to write the note, and broke the Wide Window to cause them to believe that she had committed suicide.

While travelling back, Lachrymose leeches attempt to suck their blood due to smelling food in Aunt Josephine's stomach since she ate a banana under the one hour limit. They are able to signal for help, but only Count Olaf arrives on a ship. After leaving Aunt Josephine to be eaten by the leeches, he brings the children back to the house, where Sunny is able to prove that he was Count Olaf to Mr. Poe by biting Count Olaf's fake wooden peg in half to reveal his eye tattoo underneath. He and his henchperson lock the Baudelaire Orphans and Mr. Poe in the gate of Captain Sham's boat rental and escape, leaving Mr. Poe to once again find a home for the orphans.


On the side of a building in the picture hangs a sign in the shape of a pair of glasses with a pair of squinting eyes, referencing Dr. Orwell's Office in The Miserable Mill.

Special editions


A Series of Unfortunate Events No.3: The Wide Window or, Disappearance! is a paperback re-release of The Wide Window, designed to mimic Victorian penny dreadfuls. It was released on September 4, 2007. The book includes seven new illustrations, and the third part of a serial supplement entitled The Cornucopian Cavalcade, which features a 13-part comic by Michael Kupperman entitled The Spoily Brats, an advice column written by Lemony Snicket, and, as in The Bad Beginning or, Orphans! and The Reptile Room or, Murder!, (the final) part of a story by Stephen Leacock entitled Q: A Psychic Pstory of the Psupernatural. This edition was the last of the paperback rereleases of the series - there have not been any more of these as of December 2013.


  • Croatian: "Široki Prozor"
  • Czech: "Široké okno", Egmont, 2001, ISBN: 80-7186-184-7
  • Dutch: "Het Rampzalige Raam", (The Catastrophic Window), Huberte Vriesendorp, 2006, ISBN: 978-90-216-1540-0
  • Finnish: "Avara akkuna", (The Wide Window), ISBN: 951-0-26518-7
  • Greek: "Το Φαρδύ Παράθυρο", Ελληνικά Γράμματα
  • Indonesian: "Jendela Janggal", (The Weird Window), Gramedia, 2003, ISBN: 979-22-0567-5, 10603021
  • Japanese "大きな窓に気をつけろ" (Beware the Big Window) ISBN: 4-7942-1124-4
  • Korean: "눈물샘 호수의 비밀" (Secrets of the Lacrimal Lake), Munhakdongnae Publishing Co, Ltd., 2002, ISBN: 978-89-546-0836-7
  • Norwegian: Iglene i innsjøen (The Leeches in the Lake), Karoline Melli, Cappelen Damm, 2001, ISBN: 9788202204259
  • Brazilian Portuguese: "O Lago das Sanguessugas" (The Lake of Leeches), Cia. das Letras, 2000,ISBN: 85-359-0171-X
  • Russian: "Огромное окно", Azbuka, 2003, ISBN: 5-352-00431-7
  • Spanish: "El ventanal", Montena, 2004, ISBN: 0-307-20937-7
  • Polish : "Ogromne okno" (The Giant Window)


Elements of The Wide Window were featured in the 2004 film adaptation of the first three books in the series, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. The book was adapted into the fifth and sixth episodes of the first season of the television series adaptation produced by Netflix. In the film, Meryl Streep portrays the children's new guardian aunt, Josephine, while Alfre Woodard portrays the character in the TV series.

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