Sarah's Stars

Lemony Snicket. The Bad Beginning
HarperCollins Children's, ISBN 0-439-20647-2  $9.95  162 pg.

"If you are interested in reading stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book." This is the opening sentence of Lemony Snicket's The Bad Beginning, illustrated by Brett Helquist. As you will learn, the events in this series are rarely positive.

Although the book is very captivating, in its own twisted way, it is also perhaps disheartening because nothing good ever happens to the Baudelaire orphans. It all starts at the beach when Mr. Poe comes bearing bad tidings. Although Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are always in bad situations, their ideas prove to be ingenious. Sunny, an infant scarcely larger than a boot, has four unusually sharp, strong teeth. Klaus, who is twelve, has an amazing ability to obtain knowledge from books. Violet, the eldest, has a knack for mechanical devices. These talents, although wondrous, unfortunately cannot save them from living with the villainous Count Olaf, or from the stupidity of Mr. Poe.

This book of black humour is an excellent read for grades three and up, since Lemony Snicket explains all words that may be of any trouble to the younger reader. The Bad Beginning is the first book in the sequence entitled A Series of Unfortunate Events. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and am now looking for the ninth book.


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