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The Bad Beginning: Or, Orphans! (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1) Paperback – Unabridged, May 8, 2007
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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
British actor Tim Curry, whose reputation for playing dastardly villain types precedes him, is terrific in this adaptation of the intentionally over-the-top, slightly scary tale of the Baudelaire orphans. As narrator/author Snicket, Curry relates the sad saga with pity and enlightenment sparked by dashes of humor. When the Baudelaire children, Violet, Klaus and baby Sunny, learn that their parents have perished in a fire at the family mansion, the children's rocky course is set for misery and misadventure (enough to fill the projected 13 volumes of this clever book series). The executor of the Baudelaire parents' will and keeper of the family fortune, Mr. Poe, arranges for the orphans to live with a guardian, a creepy distant relative named Count Olaf. Nasty in more ways than one, Count Olaf mistreats the children, leading them to quickly discover that he only wants their money. After they unravel one of the count's more awful schemes, the children are eventually delivered from the situation, leading neatly into a sequel. Curry plays Olaf with an appropriately spooky whispering hiss and deserves extra kudos for his convincing portrayal of Poe's racking, sometimes phlegmy cough. As a bonus, the tape contains a hilarious interview between historian, critic and author Leonard S. Marcus and Daniel Handler (suspected to be the mysterious Lemony Snicket himself). An entertaining song called "Scream and Run Away," about Count Olaf, fittingly closes the proceedings. Ages 9-up.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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!