Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Bad Beginning: Or, Orphans! (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1) Paperback – Unabridged, May 8, 2007
|New from||Used from|
From timeless classics to new favorites, find children's books for every age and stage. See more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
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 --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From Publishers Weekly
"If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book." So cautions Snicket, the exceedingly well-mannered narrator of these two witty mock-gothic novels featuring the misadventures of 14-year-old Violet, 12-year-old Klaus and infant Sunny Baudelaire. From the first, things look unfortunate indeed for the trio: a fire destroys their home, killing their parents along with it; the executor of their parents' estate, the obtuse Mr. Poe (with a son, Edgar), ignores whatever the children have to say; and their new guardian, Count Olaf, is determined to get his hands on the Baudelaire fortune. But by using their individual gifts (Violet's for inventing, Klaus's for reading and researching and baby Sunny's for biting) the three enterprising children thwart the Count's planAfor now. The author uses formal, Latinate language and intrusive commentary to hilarious effect, even for readers unfamiliar with the literary conventions he parodies. The peril in which he places the Baudelaires may be frightening (Count Olaf actually follows through on his threats of violence on several occasions), but the author paints the satire with such broad strokes that most readers will view it from a safe distance. Luckily for fans, the woes of the Baudelaires are far from over; readers eager for more misfortune can turn to The Reptile Room, for an even more suspenseful tale. Exquisitely detailed drawings of Gothic gargoyles and mischievous eyes echo the contents of this elegantly designed hardcover. Age 9-up. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Top customer reviews
I do have to admit some of the situations may be a little harsh for younger children and seeing as there are 13 books they might find it too long.
The Baudelaires Siblings. Violet, Klaus and Sunny live a happy live with their two parents in the Baudelaire Mansion, but one gloomy day their banker Mr.Poe informs them there has been a terrible fire that has taken their parents life. The Baudelaires now orphans move with their closest relative (in location not family bloodline) Count Olaf a wicked man with greedy intentions, getting the Baudelaire fortune.
Lemony Snickets mysterious ways and beautiful writing show in this book, as we take a plunge in the Baudelaires unfortunate live and the turmoil they go through living with Count Olaf.
The brains of the unfortunate Baudelaire children are incredible and the fact that these books show children using the power they have to save themselves and their loved ones is something very important to me. And seeing a girl like Violet, a girl who is so like the other girls of her age, using her incredible talent for science is just marvelous. And these books never once sugar coat anything (unlike the film).
And to those of you who are wanting to read the books after watching the film, the letter never comes. I'm re-reading these books, and I won't spoil them for you. But nothing is black and white except the print on the pages. Nothing is as simple as we'd like to make it out to be. Very few are wholly evil, and very few are wholly good. Not everyone makes it out alive and unscathed, and you don't always receive closure.
But that is life.
And life will always have a Series of Unfortunate Events.
Parents be aware that it does feature unfortunate events, as the title clearly states, but this parent feels that the children's never give up attitudes and constructive ways of dealing with their loss(es) is a good lesson which really cannot be conveyed without hardship and that this is a lesson best learned early and carefully when possible. I would prefer my kids understand from a fictional characters example that a good attitude and positive outlets for negative emotions are the best course of action before he/she experiences similar loss themselves so that my kids can better deal with the loss weather I am there to help or in the event that I'm not for whatever reason.
The way Mr. Snicket explains some higher level vocabulary and certain concepts such as dramatic irony(in book 2) is also a plus as is his tongue in cheek humor. He writes on a fifth grade level but, kinda like Spongebob, he puts some tidbits for adult brains in there too that you wont be embarrassed about when you child gets older and figures it out.
I had not read any of the Lemony Snicket stories before, undoubtedly because I'm just too darn old; it's novel aimed at children, and I was already 20 years old by the time the author (Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket) was born.
I may be old, but I still enjoy good fiction, no matter its intended audience. A Series of Unfortunate Events is an excellent story, with a very unusual approach, especially in children's lit -- a less-than-happy ending, presaged by the author on the very first page. It's full of interesting characters, bizarre situations, and a plot that moves along nicely. It's a tale well told, and I enjoyed it greatly. I'm sure kids would love it and want to read the sequels, which are legion. I will give this to my granddaughters when they're old enough; I'm sure they will love it, too.
Most recent customer reviews
I believe there is a lot which is worthwhile between these pages.Read more
I like the ending they were lying the end is a relief they are ok!
And that's everything I have to say!