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The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate…
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The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1) (original 1999; edition 1999)

by Lemony Snicket, Brett Helquist (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
11,431309239 (3.67)186
Member:girlunderglass
Title:The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1)
Authors:Lemony Snicket
Other authors:Brett Helquist (Illustrator)
Info:HarperCollins (1999), Hardcover, 162 pages
Collections:Your library, Children's lit
Rating:***
Tags:1990s, children's lit, American lit, whizkids

Work details

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (1999)

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» See also 186 mentions

English (301)  French (3)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  Finnish (1)  Aragonese Spanish (1)  German (1)  All languages (309)
Showing 1-5 of 301 (next | show all)
This is the story of three orphaned and unlucky children. Their miserable fortune lands them in the hands of an evil parental figure, Count Olaf. The children must work together to get through their misery. They use their wisdom and knowledge to strategize an escape. This series is meant for a more mature reader, perhaps 5th or 6th grade, due to the depressing and grueling nature.
  mollybeaver | Dec 17, 2014 |
I believe that the extreme situations and crazy ideas will draw students into reading this book and the rest of the series. The story may be a little frightening for young readers, but exciting as they get older. The situations are not entirely realistic, so students have the ability to disappear into Lemony Snicket's unfortunate world.
  adates12 | Dec 17, 2014 |
This is a series I will always come back to and reread, and will always recommend to the stragglers who for some reason have not yet read it.

For one thing, the characters are just so cool. The Baudelaire Orphans are great main characters, each with their own specific thing that makes them good at survival and being awesome.

But then there's also the writing. It's a very unique style that makes me actually want to read every word and every sentence instead of glossing over boring or unimportant bits like I'm prone to do for some books. Lemony Snicket is definitely a master of dark humor and tragedy.

As this is the first book of the series, naturally it is one of the best. We are introduced to Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, as well as Count Olaf and Mr. Poe. We get a taste of the tragic events that will fill up the rest of the twelve books. And we get a sense of the world all of this is set in. I love it. ( )
  BrynDahlquis | Dec 14, 2014 |
The Bad Beginning is the first book in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. It tells the story of three orphaned children, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire, who have lost their parents and all that they own in a terrible fire. They must go to live with a distance relative called Count Olaf that they have never met before. Count Olaf has a secret plan to steal the Baudelaire's fortune, and it is up to the three youngsters to protect it and each other. I would recommend this book to 4th graders and up. ( )
  SimoneAlexis | Dec 12, 2014 |
SUMMARY
When Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire lose their parents in a deadly fire, they are forced to live with a distant relative named Count Olaf. However, he just wants the children for the fortune their parents left behind. He tries to make the children's lives as miserable as possible. Olaf finds out that he can marry Violet in order to receive the fortune. When the children confront him, Sunny is placed in a birdcage suspended in the air. Violet tricks Olaf and signs with her opposite hand, making the marriage invalid. Mr. Poe looks for a new home for the children.

REVIEW
This is one of my favorite children's book series. I always loved the suspense and mystery that accompanied these books. The characters all have very unique personalities and it's very easy to feel a connection to them. I always loved when Sunny would talk in the book and Lemony Snicket would use some nonsense word like "Odo yow" and give it a meaning. Snicket's warning in the beginning to stay away from the book and calling it terrible always made me want to read it more. ( )
  tstato1 | Dec 9, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 301 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Snicket, Lemonyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Helquist, BrettIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Curry, TimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
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.
Quotations
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.
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After the sudden death of their parents, the three Baudelaire children must depend on each other and their wits when it turns out that the distant relative who is appointed their guardian is determined to use any means necessary to get their fortune.
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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:59 -0400)

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10 yrs+

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