Here you leave today
And enter the world
Of yesterday, tomorrow
Without much of a choice the Baudelaire orphans have no option but to climb into the belly of the beast and hide in the boot of Count Olafs car leaving the unfortunate events of the hospital behind them. Which is where our story picks up. Using the various disguises found around them the orphans transform themselves into freaks in order to hideout in the carnival and finally get some answers.
For the first time we are getting some solid answers to one of the questions I've had since book two, how is Olaf able to find them every time?? Madame Lulu is the answer, the mystic is able to answer one of Olafs questions every morning and it soon becomes clear the two of them have had long standing arrangement as well as relationship together, much to dislike of Olafs current squeeze Esme Squalor. After overhearing their conversation the Baudelaires realise they'll have to stick around to find out if Madame Lulu really knows where they are and if what their looking for is in the Mortmain Mountains.
As well as the Carnival owner we also meet three freaks whom the children live with, Hugo the hunchback, Colette a contortionist and Kevin who is ambidextrous, and by far the most annoying and less freak like of them all. The freaks rightly so complain about how they are treated because of who they are, but this is A Series of Unfortunate Events which wouldn't be complete with idiotic adults. From how Colette talks it's like she has to contort her body all the time so people know she's a freak and Kevin is just plain annoying. Complaining about how he can do things perfectly with both hands and feet.
As ever no one is what they really seem and the children don't know who they can truly trust, Esme has her own agenda when it comes to Madame Lulu and as for mystic herself, can anyone really trust her?? Once again they are put in the position of doing something wrong and villainous for the greater good and most importantly in order to protect themselves. Although this would pass over adults heads this is another theme great for teaching children that sometimes you have to do something bad even when it's against what you believe in, we see an example of this in The Hostile Hospital when the children have to set a fire in order to escape Olaf and his henchmen and the everyone else after them.