This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The bad beginning by Lemony Snicket

The bad beginning (original 1999; edition 1999)

by Lemony Snicket, Brett Helquist (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
14,959403215 (3.69)237
Title:The bad beginning
Authors:Lemony Snicket
Other authors:Brett Helquist (Illustrator)
Info:New York : HarperCollins Publishers, 1999.
Collections:Your library
Tags:mystery, comedy

Work details

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (1999)

  1. 121
    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (FFortuna)
  2. 90
    The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart (sarah-e)
    sarah-e: Talented, intelligent kids on the trail of a bad guy.
  3. 50
    The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  4. 50
    The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry (jbarry)
    jbarry: old-timey fun
  5. 50
    The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood (_Zoe_)
  6. 30
    School of Fear by Gitty Daneshvari (kaledrina)
  7. 30
    Zorgamazoo by Robert Paul Weston (FFortuna)
  8. 20
    The Death (and Further Adventures) of Silas Winterbottom: The Body Thief by Stephen M. Giles (kaledrina)
  9. 20
    The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E. L. Konigsburg (jbarry)
    jbarry: Smart and mature kids solve big problems.
  10. 20
    The Palace of Laughter by Jon Berkeley (FFortuna)
  11. 20
    The Robe of Skulls by Vivian French (asphyxiad0ll)
  12. 20
    Ottoline and the Yellow Cat by Chris Riddell (kaledrina)
  13. 20
    Whales on Stilts! by M. T. Anderson (kaledrina)
  14. 20
    Werewolf Versus Dragon by The Beastly Boys (FFortuna)
  15. 20
    The Fall of Fergal: The First Unlikely Exploit (Unlikely Exploits) by Philip Ardagh (infiniteletters)
  16. 20
    Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean (d_perlo)
  17. 20
    Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi (jonathankws)
    jonathankws: With a subversive author and a series of unfortunate events happening to the naughty Pinocchio, this fairy tale is very similar in style to the Unfortunate Events series. Hunt down the New York Review Books edition!
  18. 20
    A Whole Nother Story by Dr. Cuthbert Soup (foggidawn)
    foggidawn: If you enjoy this brand of humor, give this book a try.
  19. 10
    Starcross: A Stirring Adventure of Spies, Time Travel and Curious Hats by Philip Reeve (themulhern)
    themulhern: Cleverness, fourth wall breaking, good illustrations.
  20. 10
    The Jolly Regina by Kara LaReau (thebestemily)

(see all 26 recommendations)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 237 mentions

English (395)  French (2)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  Finnish (1)  Aragonese Spanish (1)  All languages (403)
Showing 1-5 of 395 (next | show all)
I had never read this series, so I felt that it was time. This is especially true since the series based on it starts in January for it. I read the entirety of this book in the matter of a few hours. The reason is because even some of the predictable or clichéd moments that would normally ruffle my feathers in other books did not irk me as badly here. I believe this is because it was intelligently written for children and remembering this made me enjoy it a lot more than thinking about it from purely an adult standpoint. If you can remember this is think most readers will greatly enjoy this first book and it will make them want to jump into the next one immediately, which is what I am doing. ( )
  CassieWinters | Oct 30, 2018 |
Eh. Aside from only bad things happening to the kids, there's way too much auctorial insert for my reading pleasure. The defining of words - sometimes by the author, sometimes by the characters - got really annoying, very quickly. The story is minor - it does make you think a little - but...really, these kids (and granted, they're still somewhat in shock) are far too obedient and well-behaved to handle their new life. Has anyone but Poe actually seen this will? Is anyone overseeing Poe, at all? I have no intention of reading the series. If I come across the last book, I'll probably read it (because I know it's the last book); I don't want to wallow in whatever bad stuff the author can come up with, but I'd like to see how he wraps it up. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Oct 29, 2018 |
This book is about 3 miserable children who's lives are handed over to a cruel "Count Olaf" after a terrible fire. This evil man is hell bent on stealing the entire fortune of these poor children whose names are Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire. These children all have an extraordinary ability; Violet can invent almost any thing when her hair is tied back, Klaus remembers everything he had ever read at the Baudelaire mansion and Sunny can bite through almost anything. Together these children survive everything Count Olaf throws at them and they learn more and more about there parents as the book goes on. The mystery of how their mansion burned down is gradually unraveled as the Baudelaire's go there sleeping on a bundle of carpets, sleeping on a lumpy bed and having a sibling married to an evil person. Count Olaf's troupe isn't overly kind to the Baudelaire's either.

I loved this book because it taught me some very fancy words and it was rather funny to see the parents be ignorant to almost everything that Count Olaf and his troupe of bad actors did to terrorize these amazing children. I gave this the rating it deserved because almost anyone could read it. Any words that were at all difficult because the narrator (Lemony Snicket) explained everything in a dry tone of voice. The Count and his troupe did many many dumb things that none in the real world would fall for AND no one caught them or even realized who it was! Overall the book was very funny and as extremely entertaining. I would recommend this book series to any one who can read. ( )
  HarryB.B4 | Oct 10, 2018 |
This is a likable book, however it didn't impress me as much as I had expected. Perhaps it is because the market is so saturated with orphan books. The story is always the same. The adults are evil, never acting in the kids best interests, and the kids are always trying to outwit the adults. Snicket is different in that there is no happy ending. It's his trademark and I kind of appreciate that for it's originality, but it's also very dark for a kid's book.

The Baudelaire children are orphaned after their parents die in a house fire. Violet, the oldest, will inherit the Baudelaire fortune when she turns 18. In the meantime, she, brother Claus, and her baby sister Sunny, are being placed under the care of the self-interested, untidy, cruel, Count Olaf. Olaf will stop at nothing to get access to the inheritance. The plan he devises is as far out there as they come. His theatre group is performing a play with a marriage scene. Olaf will play the groom and Violet is forced to play the bride in order to save Sunny from certain demise. Since Olaf unwittingly enlists the neighborhood judge to play the court official in the play, the wedding will be binding by law.

I found the whole marriage thing to be downright weird. Olaf insists that the Baudelaire children call him dad, but then he attempts to marry Violet who is his foster child. This is probably why reviewers will sometimes refer to the book as "creepy." I like the narration style of talking directly to the reader. It kind of makes you a character in the story. This is such a striking aspect of the book that it has become the standard bearer for this narration style.

I liked the book enough that it makes me want to check out the TV series. ( )
  valorrmac | Sep 21, 2018 |
We quite enjoyed these - a not-everything-ends-well Dahl-like misery. Good stuff. ( )
  morbusiff | Sep 20, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 395 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Snicket, Lemonyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Helquist, BrettIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Curry, TimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To Beatrice—darling, dearest, dead.
First words
If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.
The children looked from the well-scrubbed house of Justice Strauss to the dilapidated one next door. The bricks were stained with soot and grime. There were only two small windows, which were closed with the shades drawn even though it was a nice day. Rising about the windows was a tall and dirty tower that tilted slightly to the left. The front door needed to be repainted, and carved in the middle of it was an image of an eye. The entire building sagged to the side, like a crooked tooth.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
When the three Baudelaire children find out about their parent's death they are forced to live with a distant relative, Count Olaf. The witty and intelligent children live miserably with Olaf but have a few tricks up their sleeves. Growing up, I absolutely loved this series. My love began once my elementary teacher started to read it during class time. It's a tradition that I might want to keep up when I'm in my own classroom.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0064407667, Hardcover)

Make no mistake. The Bad Beginning begins badly for the three Baudelaire children, and then gets worse. Their misfortunes begin one gray day on Briny Beach when Mr. Poe tells them that their parents perished in a fire that destroyed their whole house. "It is useless for me to describe to you how terrible Violet, Klaus, and even Sunny felt in the time that followed," laments the personable (occasionally pedantic) narrator, who tells the story as if his readers are gathered around an armchair on pillows. But of course what follows is dreadful. The children thought it was bad when the well-meaning Poes bought them grotesque-colored clothing that itched. But when they are ushered to the dilapidated doorstep of the miserable, thin, unshaven, shiny-eyed, money-grubbing Count Olaf, they know that they--and their family fortune--are in real trouble. Still, they could never have anticipated how much trouble. While it's true that the events that unfold in Lemony Snicket's novels are bleak, and things never turn out as you'd hope, these delightful, funny, linguistically playful books are reminiscent of Roald Dahl (remember James and the Giant Peach and his horrid spinster aunts), Charles Dickens (the orphaned Pip in Great Expectations without the mysterious benefactor), and Edward Gorey (The Gashlycrumb Tinies). There is no question that young readers will want to read the continuing unlucky adventures of the Baudelaire children in The Reptile Room and The Wide Window. (Ages 9 and older) --Karin Snelson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:44 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

10 yrs+

(summary from another edition)

» see all 14 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.69)
0.5 4
1 65
1.5 13
2 260
2.5 57
3 898
3.5 191
4 1178
4.5 86
5 715

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 130,253,480 books! | Top bar: Always visible