Cover image for Terrible times
Terrible times
Ardagh, Philip.
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Henry Holt, [2003]

Physical Description:
145 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm.
Leaving his parents, his Mad Uncle Jack, and his Even Madder Aunt Maud at home at Awful End, Eddie Dickens, along with the color-blind Lady Constance, boards the ship the Pompous Pig on a mission to America.
General Note:
Sequel to: Dreadful acts.
Reading Level:
1070 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 6.6 5.0 73522.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 5.9 8 Quiz: 34087 Guided reading level: U.
Electronic Access:
Publisher description
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



The third (and final-or is it?) installment in the fabulous Eddie Dickens Trilogy!

"America?" said Eddie Dickens in amazement. "You want me to go to America?"

In the third installment of the Eddie Dickens saga, Eddie, our steadfast hero, finds himself en route to North America aboard the sailing ship Pompous Pig along with a cargo hold full of left shoes, the world-famous Dog's Bone Diamond, and some of the most disreputable traveling companions anyone might have the misfortune to share a berth with. A mysterious stowaway and some familiar faces from Eddie's past only complicate matters, as does being tied up and set adrift in a leaky rowboat. Will Eddie ever reach America?

Author Notes

Philip Ardagh is over six feet seven inches tall with a big bushy beard. Not only is he very large and very hairy, but he has also written around sixty children's books for all ages, though nothing quite like the Eddie Dickens Trilogy. Currently living as a full-time writer with a wife and two cats in a seaside town somewhere in England, he has been-among other things-an advertising copywriter, a hospital cleaner, a (highly unqualified) librarian, and a reader for the blind.

David Roberts is so busy drawing pictures that no one is really sure what he looks like. We do know that he has illustrated several books for children and lives somewhere in England, but whether his home is near the sea or not is anybody's guess.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4-7. The third title in the Eddie Dickens trilogy finds the hapless young hero being sent to America on family business by Mad Uncleack. Eddie can't travel alone, however, and his sailing companion, Lady Constance, has a disconcerting history of losing employers and benefiting from their fortunes. Complicating matters are the discovery of Even Madder Aunt Maud (and her stuffed stoat) stowed away on board, a cargo of left shoes and a famous diamond, and a dastardly plot putting passengers at risk. Ultimately, things and thugs are well sorted out, leaving one to think that perhaps there's really no place like home, even if it happens to be Awful End. Like its predecessors, this quirky read, set in Victorian England, blends zany story lines and oddball characters with abundant, reader-directed digressions and commentary. Prose and format have vintage flair, as do the humorous, black-and-white illustrations. Lemony Snickett's fans will enjoy these (mis)adventures, which will be welcomed by series fans but can also stand nicely alone. --Shelle Rosenfeld Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

This fall marks the return of many favorite characters. Philip Ardagh wraps up the Eddie Dickens Trilogy, illus. by David Roberts, with Terrible Times, in which Eddie, in the care of Mad Uncle Jack and Even Madder Aunt Maud (if one can call it that), sets out for America and washes overboard-will he ever cross the pond? PW said in a starred review of the series' launch, A House Called Awful End, "Kids who lap up Lemony Snicket's series will take quickly to this tale and clamor for the next." (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-At the opening of this final installment in the series, Eddie's parents tell him that they are sending him from England to America. Before his journey begins, however, numerous disasters are described, all of which seem to have happened to members of the boy's crazy family, but not to him. Unfortunately, the events do not proceed with enough character development or imminent danger to keep even avid readers hooked. Once young Dickens and his seemingly sweet but ultimately murderous chaperone board the ship for America, the action picks up, but many youngsters may not stick with this long-winded, confusing novel to find that out. Humorous black-and-white cartoons appear throughout. If your library has the first two of the trilogy, by all means pick up the third. Otherwise, look for Debi Gliori's Pure Dead Magic (Knopf, 2001) to meet the requests of your Lemony Snicket fans.-Sharon R. Pearce, Chippewa Elementary School, Bensenville, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

1 Explosive News! In which America is mentioned, but the author gets somewhat sidetrackedp. 3
2 A Painful Surprise: In which Mad Uncle Jack gets it in the end and Even Madder Aunt Maud has an attack of guiltp. 15
3 A Cure for Ills? In which Dr. Humple pays yet another visit to Awful End, and Eddie goes in search of shiny thingsp. 22
4 A Brief Family History: In which Eddie learns more about his family and the reasons for going to Americap. 32
5 Looking Backward, Looking Forward: In which we learn more of Eddie's past and more of his excitement at the upcoming voyagep. 48
6 Going ... Going ...? In which Eddie and the reader are almost halfway through the book and neither is sure whether Eddie is ever going to get to Americap. 58
7 ... Gone! In which, to everyone's amazement, including the author's, Eddie actually sets sail for Americap. 68
8 Discoveries: In which Eddie may be at sea, but we seem to spend most of the time amongst familiar faces on dry landp. 82
9 That Sinking Feeling: In which both Eddie and Mad Uncle Jack make plans regarding the "recapture" of Even Madder Aunt Maudp. 91
10 Dazzling Events: In which not only Even Madder Aunt Maud shows an interest in a priceless shiny thingp. 102
11 Going Overboard: In which various characters pick themselves up, dust themselves down, and start all over againp. 115
12 Back and Forth: In which we go backward and forward in order to try to make sense of it allp. 126
Glossary: The meanings of some of the not-so-normal words and phrases I threw into the mix when I cooked up this adventurep. 141