WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

This mystery adventure by Lemony Snicket is the first in the " All the Wrong Questions" series published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group Inc.

"Who Could That Be at This Hour?" was written for kids ages 9 to 12. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

At nearly 13, Lemony Snicket graduates from a mysterious spy program and begins his internship. Following instructions from his new chaperone, S. Theodora Markson, he sneaks out a teashop window and meets her. Markson, wild-haired and testy, drives them out of the city in her battered roadster. They intend to work in Stain'd-by-the-Sea, a small town once entirely underwater that now survives by extracting and selling octopus ink.

Snicket and Markson meet with their client, an elderly woman named Mrs. Murphy Sallis, at her mansion. She tells them someone has stolen a precious statue and makes the duo promise to return it to its rightful owner. The figurine depicts a mythical creature of town lore called the Bombinating Beast, which bears characteristics of a sea horse, a hawk and a chicken. Mrs. Sallis claims a family named Mallahan, who lives in a lighthouse up the road, has taken the statue.

At the lighthouse, Snicket meets a girl with a typewriter named Moxie Mallahan. Moxie's parents, both former reporters, ran the local paper. She says it's in her blood to carry on the journalistic tradition. She shows him the statue he's looking for, along with numerous other Bombinating Beast items that have long been in her family.

As Markson continues to develop outlandish theories about how the Mallahans stole the statue, Snicket begins to wonder if there's much truth to Mrs. Sallis' story. As he investigates, he meets a handful of quirky and interesting locals including the young, leather-clad town librarian, two children who drive their father's taxi for tips, a married police officer team and a mysterious girl named Ellington, who begs him to help her find her father.

Moxie helps Snicket acquire the Bombinating Beast, which changes hands several times before the close of the story. Moxie and Snicket find Mrs. Sallis tied up and nearly drowned in the mansion basement. Moxie recognizes she isn't Mrs. Sallis, and they learn she's a local actress posing as the wealthy woman.

Through Snicket's investigation, he learns of a villain named Hangfire who seems to be behind the Sallis fiasco and Ellington's father's disappearance. Hangfire is skilled at fooling his victims by imitating others' voices, and for reasons unknown to Snicket, he is after the Bombinating Beast statue. The book ends with Snicket pondering even more questions than he started with, paving the way for the next book in the "All the Wrong Questions" series.

Christian Beliefs

None

Other Belief Systems

Snicket briefly mentions reading a chapter in a library book about witches in Stain'd-by-the-Sea who have ink in their veins instead of blood.

Authority Roles

S. Theodora Markson is the organization's lowest ranked mentor; Snicket chooses to intern with her so he can work more independently. Markson is inept at her job and typically asks the wrong questions, while frequently lecturing Snicket. Other adults, such as the town's married police couple, are also bumbling and clueless. Snicket appears at the beginning of the story with parents he later reveals aren't his real mom and dad. He allows himself only a moment to miss his real parents. He tells Ellington his parents are helpless and can't help him.

Profanity/Violence

None

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

None

Discussion Topics

If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:

  • Why does Snicket feel as though promises are a heavy burden?
  • When have you had a difficult time keeping a promise?
  • Why is it important to keep promises?

  • What is the significance of asking questions in this book?

  • Who asks the right questions, and who fails to do so?
  • How can you ask good, useful questions?

Additional Comments/Notes


Book reviews cover the content, themes and world-views of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!