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A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad…

A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning: A Series of… (original 1999; edition 2009)

by Lemony Snicket, Brett Helquist (Illustrator), Michael Kupperman (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
12,865346178 (3.68)211
Title:A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1
Authors:Lemony Snicket
Other authors:Brett Helquist (Illustrator), Michael Kupperman (Illustrator)
Info:HarperCollins (2009), Kindle Edition, 176 pages
Collections:Read in 2013 (inactive), Your library
Tags:Kindle, 2013

Work details

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (1999)

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» See also 211 mentions

English (339)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  Aragonese Spanish (1)  German (1)  All languages (346)
Showing 1-5 of 339 (next | show all)
This is a novel written for younger children but is still an enjoyable read for anybody. This is the second time I have actually read it and we own the whole series so I will re-read the rest too.

In this novel, 3 newly orphaned children go to live with an distant relative Count Olaf. Count Olaf really wants to get his hands on the children's huge wealth. The 3 children have to try and foil his evil plan and save themselves and their fortune.

The plot was quite simple which is understandable as it is written for younger children and on the whole I found it very enjoyable. It is fast paced and interesting, with twists that will keep younger children guessing but which I found rather predictable.

The characters are really interesting, with the three children being my favourites. Violet is the eldest child and loves to invent things. This is rather a strange personality trait which not many characters are given so I enjoyed reading about the things she invented. The middle child is called Klaus and he loves to read. He knows lots, and his knowledge comes in handy during the book. The youngest child is called Sunny and she is still a toddler. She doesn't know any words but she loves to bite things including people. The villain is called Count Olaf, who is a distant relative of the orphans, who wants to get the orphans fortune, which will be Violet's when she comes of age. He was a really great villain, with the right amount of believability and menace to make him seem quite scary.

This novel is written in 3rd person, by someone recounting the children's adventure. Also the author uses a great number of words that some younger children might not recognise, but he puts the meaning of the word after it. For example "...occasionally their parents gave them permission to take a rickety trolley - the word 'rickety,' you probably know, here means 'unsteady' or 'likely to collapse' - alone to the seashore...."

At first I found this jarring and felt it spoilt the flow of the novel but after a chapter or so I got used to it and I didn't really notice it. This would be helpful for people who didn't know what these words meant and it is probably teaching younger children new vocabulary.

Overall I would recommend this book whatever your age as it is enjoyable and different from most books out there at the moment. ( )
  ACascadeofBooks | Oct 5, 2016 |
4 stars ( )
  JennysBookBag.com | Sep 28, 2016 |
This was a good read. For the younger audiences it has spectacular vocabulary lessons embedded into the plot and the characters while not overly developed are very nice.
( )
  sszkutak | Sep 28, 2016 |
Violet Baudelaire was the type one could never forget. Her thoughts were so inventive she was like the first person to invent inventions herself.

Klaus Baudelaire was such a one of books about facts he could be an author of facts himself, and when he died he would be a historical author. The kids would read his books and the children would cry, "Look, Mummy! This book's by Klaus Baudelaire!"

Sunny Baudelaire was a little girl who lived to bite, and when her siblings Violet and Klaus were reading books she'd at least find one about teeth! When she had her visit at Justice Strauss' house, she picked one of teeth as soon as she could see one.

Count Olaf was a relative of the Baudelaire children and was the terrible man the children's father and mother had chosen to look after their two daughters and son. But Count Olaf was evil and all he wanted from the Baudelaires was money.

The Baudelaires lived in a huge mansion where they had a library that Klaus was addicted to, plenty of rooms Violet had had her inventing thoughts in and many teething rings for Sunny. But when the Baudelaire children's parents were killed in a fire, the teething rings had melted and the library and Violet's inventing rooms were wrecked.

The plan that Olaf was to do to get the Baudelaire fortune was this. He made Violet be his bride in a play. But why? It was because if Violet signed the form and said, "I do," she would actually be married - play or not.

Justice Strauss was asked to be the judge in the play, because she was actually a judge in real life. As Violet was only fourteen, she couldn't be married - unless it was to be in front of a judge, which, of course, she was.

Meanwhile, Sunny was dangling from a huge tower in a birdcage, and if anything was to go wrong in the play, Sunny was to be dropped down to her death.

But Violet was clever. She was a right-handed fourteen-year-old. So, she said, "I do," but filled in her form with her left hand.

If Olaf was married to Violet, he would be in control of her fortune, according to Nuptial Law. but Violet wasn't married to Olaf, and she wasn't a countess, as she used her left hand.

The Baudelaire children were to be living with Justice Strauss, but Mr Poe (the children's father's friend) read the will and said that the Baudelaire children were to be only looked after by a relative. So, Mr Poe took the children to his house and found out what to do with them in the morning.

As for Olaf, he sped off before he and his troupe would be sent off to jail.

I liked this book so much that after I'd read it (this morning) I looked on my Nook to see if I had the second. Though I didn't.

I care for the Baudelaires a lot, and felt sorry for them when they heard the dreadful news of their parents being dead. My favourite character would probably be Violet. She was extremely thoughtful and clever, and she paid so much attention to books she knew what she had to do to save Sunny and what to do in the play. ( )
  LaviniaRossetti | Sep 6, 2016 |
I am reviewing a lot of books that I read when I was tiny wee! Sorry, everyone.

So Lemony Snicket and J.K. Rowling were really the two authors that I read avidly when I was a child - when I found out there was a new book out, I went to the bookshop and bought the next copy. You know how it goes.

I did enjoy this first book in the series, although, even as a child I was confused at some of the context. Like, why don't these children have a lawyer to represent them? Why is Violet getting married at 14? That's... illegal.

I was still able to enjoy it though I found some of Snicket's writing a little condescending? I loved the characters, though, so it's really tricky for me to rate this. I absolutely adored Violet, I loved that a girl was interested in science and mechanics and how things worked. I remember a lot from the books, a lot of it stuck with me and once I was able to get past its faults, I enjoyed the book.

(Although, the whole author fiasco totally changed the tone of the books for me, but I'll talk about that in a later review.) 3.5 stars from me. c: ( )
  lydia1879 | Aug 31, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Snicket, Lemonyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Snicket, Lemonymain authorall editionsconfirmed
Helquist, BrettIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Curry, TimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Beatrice—darling, dearest, dead.
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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.
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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.
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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)

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