The Bad Beginning

The Bad Beginning

Book - 1999 | 1st ed.
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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. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are intelligent children. They are charming, and resourceful, and have pleasant facial features. Unfortunately, they are exceptionally unlucky.
Publisher: New York : HarperCollins Publishers, 1999.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780060283124
Characteristics: 162 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.
Additional Contributors: Helquist, Brett - Illustrator
Study Program: Accelerated Reader AR-ATOS MG 6.4 4.0 41281.
Reading Counts RC 6.1 7.0 20828.


From Library Staff

(Book series) Warning, the title says it all. Don’t expect happy endings or Kodak moments. Do expect dark and mysterious characters, suspect murders, twisting plot, and exposed conspiracies. The series is not for the faint of heart, so expect to feel discouraged after each novel. Enjoy it the way... Read More »

From the critics

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Oct 10, 2020

This book is pure sadness and grief, but it has a feeling that makes it difficult to put down. The readers can interact with the characters to see if they figure out what evil count Olaf has planned next. Overall a great book, but would not recommend it for kids younger than 10.

Aug 14, 2020

Ooooohhhh man.... THIS IS AN AMAZING BOOK! I really like it. i really liked the Netflix series so I thought i would try the books. AND I'M SO GLAD I DID! (Sorry, i like to yell)

Aug 05, 2020

Violet, Klaus, and Sunny have had the worst day ever. Their parents died in a fire, they became orphans, and their new guardian wants to steal their fortune. Little do they know that this is just the beginning of a whole series of unfortunate events.

This book is exhilarating and absorbing. Once you start reading, it’s hard to put down.

Jun 20, 2020

I read this as a 'pre-read' to decide whether it was suitable for my 7 yr old granddaughter. I loved the dark, gritty explanations. She claimed she wanted a 'scary' story - but this was a bit too descriptive for her liking. We did not finish it (but I did!)

OPL_KIDS Jun 16, 2020

Despite its title, Lemony Snicket's A Bad Beginning is the perfect beginning to the 13-book series, "A Series of Unfortunate Events." Between the brevity of the story, the delightfully unique characters, and the melancholic tone, it could be aptly described as a wonderfully weird weekend read. You might not even be able to put it down! The characters are relatable and interesting, and the story is exciting enough to be fun but not too scary or emotionally challenging. It is a great option for any fan of realistic fiction. As a fan of not-so-obvious learning opportunities, I especially love that challenging vocabulary and colloquialisms are not only scattered throughout, but are almost always defined or explained within the same sentence or paragraph. Despite the fact that the narrator promises an unhappy ending from the start, the story does end on a fairly positive note (pleasantly surprising this happy ending obsessed reader). I want to warn you though -- it does leave you wanting a bit more. You might want to consider getting the second book in the series at the same time that you get the first!

Reviewed by Miss Allison

Haven't got a chance to read that

Aug 03, 2019

Great book for ages 7+ a should read book (great for summer)

Apr 30, 2019

Take the author's advice and don't read this book. If this book is allegorical, I guess I missed it.

This is an awesome book!!!! I like the main characters and feel bad for them when bad things come their way, which I don't easily feel in books. Overall a great read, I highly suggest reading it!!!!

Mar 29, 2019

This was (as it says in the first chapter) a depressing book. But it is written in a lighthearted way that, amazingly, doesn't diminish what the children go through, but shows the stark reality of their misfortunes. I read this as a child, and I must admit that I forgot most of what happened in this book. But I am glad I picked it up again.

The Baudelaire orphans are an interesting set of main characters. They are resourceful and intelligent and try to look on the positive side, even when there is very little positive showing. Just as the children are endearing, Count Olaf and his troupe are repulsive. They represent evil very clearly, and even their descriptions and attitudes towards the children conjure up the worst of feelings.

The characters are well-written, and the story is enjoyable, despite the near depressing things that happen within the pages. If you want to read a good adventure with a variety of characters, you will enjoy this introduction into what is aptly named 'A Series of Unfortunate Events.' Settle in for the ride of a lifetime, and bring your friends for support.

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Jun 28, 2017

"If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book. In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle. This is because not very many happy thing happened in the lives of the three Baudelaire youngsters."

[Page 1]

Jul 06, 2016

“I don't know if you've ever noticed this, but first impressions are often entirely wrong.”

Jun 28, 2015

“Your initial opinion on just about anything may change over time.”
― Lemony Snicket

Jun 21, 2012

“I don't know if you've ever noticed this, but first impressions are often entirely wrong. You can look at a painting for the first time, for example, and not like it at all, but after looking at it a little longer you may find it very pleasing. The first time you try Gorgonzola cheese you may find it too strong, but when you are older you may want to eat nothing but Gorgonzola cheese. Klaus, when Sunny was born, did not like her at all, but by the time she was six weeks old the two of them were thick as thieves. Your initial opinion on just about anything may change over time.”


Add a Summary
Jul 11, 2020

The Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with sadness and loss. They receive crushing news and Violet, Claus, and Sunny Baudelaire are forced to deal with a repulsive villain who is trying his best to get his hands on their prosperous fortune. Follow the Baudelaire siblings through their adventure packed story!

This book is filled with such exciting mystery that I was not able to put it down. I would highly recommend this book!

Jun 04, 2011

Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire are turned orphans when their parents suddenly die in a house fire. They are sent by the manager of their parents' funds, Mr. Poe, to live with a distant relative, Count Olaf. Count Olaf was an evil man, making them do chores and cook for his theatre troupe, who are equally evil people. One day Count Olaf orders the children to perform in a play called the Marvelous Marriage. In which case he asks his next door neighbor, Justice Strauss (a judge) to play herself in the play, violet to play his fiancee, and he will play the groom. Since a justice of the peace is present and they would sign actual marriage licenses, the marriage would be legal and he would be in charge of the rich fortune that was to await Violet when she turned 18. Klaus uncovers this plan after reading a book on nuptial law. Klaus confronts Olaf and Violet refuses to play the part but she is forced to because Olaf takes Sunny and places her in a cage on the top of a tower and threatens to drop her off the top of the tower. Violet is forced to play the part, so she goes through with the whole play. Once the marriage license is signed, Olaf announces to the crowd that he is legally married to Violet. Then Violet announces that she signed the license with her left hand. Everyone watching the play tries to capture Olaf and his theatre troupe, but they quickly turn off all the lights and the whole troupe escapes in a car.


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