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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
11,368299244 (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 (291)  French (3)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  Finnish (1)  Aragonese Spanish (1)  German (1)  All languages (299)
Showing 1-5 of 291 (next | show all)
First off, I would suggest this series / book for (advanced?) young readers -- 2nd through 5th grade. I really enjoyed the way in which it was written -- how "big" words were explained, even in dialogue. The story line is also one of those that would be a good introduction to children about make-believe/fiction -- how stories can be written in such a way that you're convinced they're true and happening in present day but by examining the text you can see that they're not.

Secondly ... wowow!
Talk about a series of unfortunate events!
The whole time I was reading this I was wondering how many parents complain about this story because children should not be reading about such unpleasant events! And then I was wondering how many children are eagerly reading this series to escape their own series of unfortunate events ... Just, wow!

Adrianne ( )
  Adrianne_p | Nov 10, 2014 |
I loved this book. I really felt a lot of sympathy for the characters, as Snicket always puts them through some sort of hardship. The characters are very easy to connect to, and I love how independent they are for such young kids. They stick together no matter what. Snicket has an amazing way with writing. One thing he does in his books is defining words that he uses. He will often use a word that may be unfamiliar to his reader, but he will explain what it means. He even adds examples in his books. In one book, he describes Claus as being so tired that he was starting to read the same sentence over and over. Snicket then inserts the same sentence a few times in a row. In another book, Snicket defines déjà vu. After explaining what déjà vu is, readers flip to the next page and realize that it is exactly the same as the last. Overall, I really love this book and it leaves me wanting to read more. The message of this book is that even though terrible things may happen to you, you have to keep your head up and stick together. ( )
  HeatherBallard | Nov 6, 2014 |
1. I had mixed feelings about Lemony Snicket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning.” I liked that the writing included a great amount of dialogue. In my opinion, this would benefit students’ ability to enhance their proficiency with recognizing grammatical variations that distinguish dialogue from prose. Because there were many main characters in this book, I think that Snicket’s decision to write the book in third person aided the reader, in that it provided multiple perspectives on the events occurring in the story. I really liked how engaging the plot of this story is. The conflicts of the story are easily recognizable to readers, as the majority of this story elaborates on the “unfortunate events” the children encounter. Some examples of conflict are that the children’s parents pass away in an accident, leaving the children as orphans, as well as that their caretaker forces them to live in poor conditions and wants to steal the children’s family’s fortune. There suspense and tension within the plot are consistent, which keeps readers engaged for the entirety of the story. I believe that for these reasons, this would be a good story for students to read, if the students have recently moved from transitional books to chapter books. My only concern with this book is that it is not relevant to many academically appropriate content areas and that it may be more suitable for students’ personal reading. The main message of this story is to remain positive and to always have hope in times of despair. ( )
  efried5 | Oct 30, 2014 |
It follows the perilous fate of the three Baudelaire orphans, who are sent to live with the evil Count Olaf, a distant cousin, after their parents die. The bleak, gothic atmosphere of The Bad Beginning keeps readers holding their breath, as will the damsel-on-train-tracks adventure. Periodic gusts of wicked humor from narrator Snicket, allow readers to start breathing again. There's more menace than violence, but there are scenes where a baby is threatened with being dropped from a tower and a boy is struck across the face. Kids will learn lots of new vocabulary words, which Snicket cleverly explains in context, and be exposed to many literary references that may sail over their heads but are a big part of the fun. There is a glimpse of luck, but sooner or later their wicked guardian will throw it away.

This book is a roller coaster of maddness, and will make it seem like infinity. These three children have many different mysteries to catch up. You won't stop reading this until you're finished with the series. Murders happen, and even rebels can to. This book will chear you on like watching a game. Back and fourth with "yes" and "no" will happen. The Baudelaire's will continuelly solving mysteries again; again. Hopefully you'll read this wicked book.
  AutumnH.B1 | Oct 23, 2014 |
For someone who claims to love good middle grade books and who knows these books are a phenomenon, it's weird I've never bothered to pick one up. I saw the movie when it came out and remember being unimpressed. I knew the books themselves are beautiful. I know they're supposed to be snarky and great, but I just wasn't grabbed.

Until I saw this at a book sale for $3 and figured it was enough of a "thing" to at least own a copy of the first book to have on my shelf. Even then I had to wait for a moment when I wanted a book in my bag to tide me over from something I was expecting to finish halfway through my commute that day before I picked it up.

I owe my judgmental self one hell of an apology.

This was an absolute delight from start to finish. The narrator's voice was great, the victorian gothic feel of it, the great little characters. I LOVED IT.

I'm doing the whole series. They're going to be enjoyable to read *and* look killer on my shelves. ( )
  heaven_star | Oct 20, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 291 (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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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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