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The Bad Beginning: Book the First (A Series of Unfortunate Events)

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I'm sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say...

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Helquist, Brett 1999 Hard cover Very good. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 162 p. Contains: Illustrations. Series of Unfortunate Events (Library), 1. ... Audience: Children/juvenile. Cover shows minimal wear; slight corner wear & top & bottom of spine. Binding is Tight. Pages very good. Nice readable copy. Read more Show Less

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1999 Library Binding No Dust Jacket. Book 1. Good Condition. Reasonable wear-still very useable. Text appears free of marks, writing, and highlighting. May have ... bookstore-related stamps/stickers/marks. SHIPS W/IN 24 HOURS! Processed by DHL with USPS delivery for an average of 3-5 Day Standard Shipping & 2-3 Day Expedited Shipping! ! FREE INSURANCE! Fast & Personal Support! Careful Packaging. No Hassle, Full Refund Return Policy! Read more Show Less

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A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning

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Overview

Dear Reader,

I'm sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune.

In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast.

It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing.

With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Bad Beginning is actually a great beginning. It's the first book in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, a wonderfully different and disastrous children's story starring three highly unlucky siblings. In this first book, readers are introduced to the unfortunate Baudelaire children -- 14-year-old Violet, 12-year-old Klaus, and their infant sister, Sunny -- when they learn they've just been orphaned by a terrible house fire.

The executor of the Baudelaire estate -- a phlegm-plagued banker named Mr. Poe -- sends the children to live with a distant relative: a conniving and dastardly villain named Count Olaf, who has designs on the Baudelaire fortune. Count Olaf uses the children as slave labor, provides horrid accommodations for them, and makes them cook huge meals for him and his acting troupe, a bunch of odd-looking, renegade good-for-nothings. When the children are commandeered to appear in Count Olaf's new play, they grow suspicious and soon learn that the play is not the innocent performance it seems but rather a scheme cooked up by Olaf to help him gain control of the children's millions.

All this bad luck does provide for both great fun and great learning opportunities, however. Violet is a budding McGyver whose inventions help the children in their quest, Klaus possesses a great deal of book smarts, and Sunny -- whose only real ability is an incredibly strong bite -- provides moral support and frequent comedy relief. Then there are the many amusing word definitions, colloquialisms, clichés, hackneyed phrases, and other snippets of language provided by the narrator (a character in his own right) that can't help but expand readers' vocabularies. Though the Baudelaire children suffer myriad hardships and setbacks, in the end they do manage to outsmart and expose Olaf's devious ways. But of course, with luck like theirs, it's a given that Olaf will escape and return to torment them again some day. If only misery was always this much fun. (Beth Amos)

Ron Charles
The arch-sounding narrator may seem witty and explanatorybut do not be fooled. This book is filled with disaster and mystery and long knives and poisonous snakes and itchy clothing....Unlike the good snake doctorthis series promises to have a longproductive life. —Christian Science Monitor
Publishers Weekly
Tim Curry, whose appropriately unctuous and sometimes slimy delivery are a hallmark of the audiobook versions of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events titles, is thankfully up to his old tricks. Curry returns on the 11th installment, The Grim Grotto, to play Snicket, Count Olaf and all the gang with welcome flair. The enhanced CD features word games, photos and artwork when played on a personal computer. Curry also returns as the linchpin on a new, multivoice recording of The Bad Beginning, the first book in the series, which ties in to the feature film release of Paramount/Nickelodeon/Dreamwork's Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Audio books are a fabulous family solution to travel boredom. Highly recommended are Lemony Snicket's "Series of Unfortunate Events." These satirical melodramas relate the adventures of the three gifted Baudelaire orphans as they battle the evil Count Olaf who means to destroy them and gain their fortune. This series, one of children's books' newer reading phenomena, has subtle humor, Roald Dahl-like pathos, and lots of action. The narrator of the book is so good that he qualifies as a character; he is chummy at times, entertaining at others, and periodically, amicably intrusive as he defines words and terms. These qualities translate fabulously in tapes. Tim Curry reads the first two books, The Bad Beginning and The Reptile Room. He over dramatizes, just as the series style seems to demand; he gives the villain a sinister, sibilant voice and the children's clueless protector, a phlegmy lawyer, is almost disgusting in Curry's rendition. There are two cassettes, unabridged. 2001, Listening Library, $18.00. Ages 8 up. Reviewer: Susie Wilde
Library Journal
Gr 4-6-This series chronicles the unfortunate lives of the Baudelaire children: Violet, 14; Klaus, 12; and the infant, Sunny. In Bad Beginning, their parents and possessions perish in a fire, and the orphans must use their talents to survive as their lives move from one disastrous event to another. Surrounded by dim-witted though well-meaning adults, the Baudelaires find themselves in the care of their evil relative, Count Olaf, a disreputable actor whose main concern is getting his hands on the children's fortune. When Olaf holds Sunny hostage to force Violet to marry him, it takes all of the siblings' resourcefulness to outwit him. Violet's inventive genius, Klaus's forte for research, and Sunny's gift for biting the bad guys at opportune moments save the day. However, the evil Count escapes, only to return in The Reptile Room just as the children are settling into a far more pleasant life with their new guardian, Uncle Monty, who is promptly murdered by Olaf and his cohorts. Though the villain escapes again, and beloved Uncle Monty is dead, the children are safe...for now. While the misfortunes hover on the edge of being ridiculous, Snicket's energetic blend of humor, dramatic irony, and literary flair makes it all perfectly believable. The writing, peppered with fairly sophisticated vocabulary and phrases, may seem daunting, but the inclusion of Snicket's perceptive definitions of difficult words makes these books challenging to older readers and excellent for reading aloud.-Linda Bindner, formerly at Athens Clarke County Library, GA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Ron Charles
The arch-sounding narrator may seem witty and explanatory, but do not be fooled. This book is filled with disaster and mystery and long knives and poisonous snakes and itchy clothing....Unlike the good snake doctor, this series promises to have a long, productive life.
Christian Science Monitor
Kirkus Reviews
The Baudelaire children—Violet, 14, Klaus, 12, and baby Sunny—are exceedingly ill-fated; Snicket extracts both humor and horror from their situation, as he gleefully puts them through one terrible ordeal after another. After receiving the news that their parents died in a fire, the three hapless orphans are delivered into the care of Count Olaf, who "is either a third cousin four times removed, or a fourth cousin three times removed." The villainous Count Olaf is morally depraved and generally mean, and only takes in the downtrodden yet valiant children so that he can figure out a way to separate them from their considerable inheritance. The youngsters are able to escape his clutches at the end, but since this is the first installment in A Series of Unfortunate Events, there will be more ghastly doings. Written with old-fashioned flair, this fast-paced book is not for the squeamish: the Baudelaire children are truly sympathetic characters who encounter a multitude of distressing situations. Those who enjoy a little poison in their porridge will find it wicked good fun. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 10-12)
From the Publisher
"Written with old-fashioned flair, this fast-paced book is not for the squeamish: the Baudelaire children are truly sympathetic characters who encounter a multitude of distressing situations.  Those who enjoy a little poison in their porridge will find it wicked good fun." -Kirkus Reviews
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060283124
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events , #1
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Lemony Snicket
Lemony Snicket grew up near the sea and currently lives beneath it. To his horror and dismay, he has no wife or children, only enemies, associates, and the occasional loyal manservant. His trial has been delayed ,so he free to continue researching and recording the tragic tales of the Baudelaire orphans for HarperCollins.

Biography

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end -- and, in the case of Lemony Snicket, all unfortunate things must come to an end, too. After seven years and thirteen episodes, the much beloved A Series of Unfortunate Events books are drawing to a close. At least, that's what Snicket's "handler" Daniel Handler says.

But before getting to what promises to be "the most unfortunate event of all," it is first necessary to familiarize oneself with the mysterious man who created a mega-selling series of children's novels pivoting on the premise of placing young people in peril. According to his autobiography Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography, Snicket "grew up near the sea and currently lives beneath it. To his horror and dismay, he has no wife or children, only enemies, associates, and the occasional loyal manservant. His trial has been delayed, so he is free to continue researching and recording the tragic tales of the Baudelaire orphans." Hmmm. Perhaps an autobiography purporting that it may or may not be true isn't the best place to begin.

Instead, let us focus on Daniel Handler, the man who might actually be responsible for composing the Series of Unfortunate Events books according to certain skeptics (which include Handler, himself). Daniel Handler has been asked many times why anyone would want to make a career of chronicling the ghastly trials of a trio of ill-fated orphans. "When I was young, my favorite stories were not the sort of children's books that are constantly being thrust at you when you're little," he explained in an audio essay on Barnes & Noble.com. "I didn't like books where people played on a sports team and won a bunch of games, or went to summer camp and had a wonderful time. I really liked a book where a witch might cut a child's head off or a pack of angry dogs might burst through a door and terrorize a family. So, I guess it should not be surprising that when I turned to children's literature I tried to think of all sorts of interesting things to happen to small children, and all of these things were pretty dreadful."

Handler has long made it clear that his wildly popular series would be limited to thirteen installments. The Penultimate Peril: Book the Twelfth finds the much-beleaguered Baudelaire orphans "enjoying" a family vacation at a menacing hotel, and Handler is wrapping up his saga with The End: Book the Thirteenth, which promises to tie up all remaining threads in the story in an undoubtedly exciting manner.

However, the conclusion of his series is no indication that Handler plans on bringing his writing career to an end. He has also written adult-targeted titles under his own name, including his latest, Adverbs: A Novel. This exploration of love, which Publishers Weekly deemed "lovely" and "lilting," may forgo the trademark Lemony Snicket wry morbidity, but Handler ensures readers that the book isn't without its own unfortunate events. "It's a fairly miserable story, as any story about love will be," he says. "People try to find love -- some of them find it, some of them don't, some of them have an unhappy time even if they do find it -- but it is considerably more cheerful than any of my so-called children's books."

Good To Know

Daniel Handler has a potentially embarrassing confession to make: he is an avowed accordion player. Handler says that when he told his parents about his decidedly uncool musical pursuits, they reacted "as if I had taken up heroin."

His interest in music does not end with the accordion. Close friend and leader of indie-rock band The Magnetic Fields Steven Merritt has written an original song for each audio book version of the Series of Unfortunate Events books. Merritt and Handler will be releasing a CD of all 13 "dreadful" songs when the final installment of the series is published in late 2006. Handler also lent his accordion-laying talents to The Magnetic Fields' critically acclaimed album 69 Love Songs.

Handler's persistence may rival that of the never-say-die Baudelaire orphans. His first novel, The Basic Eight, was rejected 37 times before it was finally published.

He enjoys the work of novelist Haruki Murakami so much that Handler devoted an entire essay to the subject in the plainly and guilelessly entitled Village Voice review, "I Love Murakami."

According to a former high school classmate writing in the local paper, Handler was "voted not only Class Clown, but also Best Actor, Chatterbox, and Teacher's Pet."

A few fun facts from our interview with Handler:

"I can cook anything."

"I know one very good card trick."

"I auditioned for an enormous role in the film Gigli."

Read More Show Less
    1. Also Known As:
      In some parts, people get to know him through his handler, Daniel Handler.
    2. Hometown:
      Snicket is something of a nomad. Handler lives in San Francisco, California.
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 28, 1970
    2. Place of Birth:
      Handler was born in San Francisco in 1970, and says Snicket's family has roots in a land that's now underwater.
    1. Education:
      Handler is a 1992 graduate of Wesleyan University in Connecticut.
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

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 things happened in the lives of the three Baudelaire youngsters. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire were intelligent children, and they were charming, and resourceful, and had pleasant facial features, but they were extremely unlucky, and most everything that happened to them was rife with misfortune, misery, and despair. I'm sorry to tell you this, but that is how the story goes.

Their misfortune began one day at Briny Beach. The three Baudelaire children lived with their parents in an enormous mansion at the heart of a dirty and busy city, and 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, where they would spend the day as a sort of vacation as long as they were home for dinner. This particular morning it was gray and cloudy, which didn't bother the Baudelaire youngsters one bit. When it was hot and sunny, Briny Beach was crowded with tourists and it was impossible to find a good place to lay one's blanket. On gray and cloudy days, the Baudelaires had the beach to themselves to do what they liked.

Violet Baudelaire, the eldest, liked to skip rocks. Like most fourteen-year-olds, she was right-handed, so the rocks skipped farther across the murky water when Violet used her right hand than when she used her left. As she skipped rocks, she was looking out at the horizon and thinking about an invention she wanted to build. Anyone who knew Violet well could tell she was thinking hard, because her long hair was tied up in a ribbon to keep it out of her eyes. Violet had a real knack for inventing and building strange devices, so her brain was often filled with images of pulleys, levers, and gears, and she never wanted to be distracted by something as trivial as her hair. This morning she was thinking about how to construct a device that could retrieve a rock after you had skipped it into the ocean.

Klaus Baudelaire, the middle child, and the only boy, liked to examine creatures in tidepools. Klaus was a little older than twelve and wore glasses, which made him look intelligent. He was intelligent. The Baudelaire parents had an enormous library in their mansion, a room filled with thousands of books on nearly every subject. Being only twelve, Klaus of course had not read all of the books in the Baudelaire library, but he had read a great many of them and had retained a lot of the information from his readings. He knew how to tell an alligator from a crocodile. He knew who killed Julius Caesar. And he knew much about the tiny, slimy animals found at Briny Beach, which he was examining now.

Sunny Baudelaire, the youngest, liked to bite things. She was an infant, and very small for her age, scarcely larger than a boot. What she lacked in size, however, she made up for with the size and sharpness of her four teeth. Sunny was at an age where one mostly speaks in a series of unintelligible shrieks. Except when she used the few actual words in her vocabulary, like "bottle," "mommy," and "bite," most people had trouble understanding what it was that Sunny was saying. For instance, this morning she was saying "Gack!" over and over, which probably meant, "Look at that mysterious figure emerging from the fog!"

Sure enough, in the distance along the misty shore of Briny Beach there could be seen a tall figure striding toward the Baudelaire children. Sunny had already been staring and shrieking at the figure for some time when Klaus looked up from the spiny crab he was examining, and saw it too. He reached over and touched Violet's arm, bringing her out of her inventing thoughts.

"Look at that," Klaus said, and pointed toward the figure. It was drawing closer, and the children could see a few details. It was about the size of an adult, except its head was tall, and rather square.

"What do you think it is?" Violet asked.

"I don't know," Klaus said, squinting at it, "but it seems to be moving right toward us."

"We're alone on the beach," Violet said, a little nervously. "There's nobody else it could be moving toward." She felt the slender, smooth stone in her left hand, which she had been about to try to skip as far as she could. She had a sudden thought to throw it at the figure, because it seemed so frightening.

"It only seems scary," Klaus said, as if reading his sister's thoughts, "because of all the mist."

This was true. As the figure reached them, the children saw with relief that it was not anybody frightening at all, but somebody they knew: Mr. Poe. Mr. Poe was a friend of Mr. and Mrs. Baudelaire's whom the children had met many times at dinner parties. One of the things Violet, Klaus, and Sunny really liked about their parents was that they didn't send their children away when they had company over, but allowed them to join the adults at the dinner table and participate in the conversation as long as they helped clear the table. The children remembered Mr. Poe because he always had a cold and was constantly excusing himself from the table to have a fit of coughing in the next room.

Mr. Poe took off his top hat, which had made his head look large and square in the fog, and stood for a moment, coughing loudly into a white handkerchief. Violet and Klaus moved forward to shake his hand and say how do you do.

"How do you do?" said Violet.

"How do you do?" said Klaus.

"Odo yow!" said Sunny.

"Fine, thank you," said Mr. Poe, but he looked very sad. For a few seconds nobody said anything, and the children wondered what Mr. Poe was doing there at Briny Beach, when he should have been at the bank in the city, where he worked. He was not dressed for the beach.

"It's a nice day," Violet said finally, making conversation. Sunny made a noise that sounded like an angry bird, and Klaus picked her up and held her.

"Yes, it is a nice day," Mr. Poe said absently, staring out at the empty beach. "I'm afraid I have some very bad news for you children."

The three Baudelaire siblings looked at him. Violet, with some embarrassment, felt the stone in her left hand and was glad she had not thrown it at Mr. Poe.

"Your parents," Mr. Poe said, "have perished in a terrible fire."

The children didn't say anything.

"They perished," Mr. Poe said, "in a fire which destroyed the entire house. I'm very, very sorry to tell you this, my dears."

Violet took her eyes off Mr. Poe and stared out at the ocean. Mr. Poe had never called the Baudelaire children "my dears" before. She understood the words he was saying but thought he must be joking, playing a terrible joke on her and her brother and sister.

"'Perished,'" Mr. Poe said, "means 'killed.'"

"We know what the word 'perished' means," Klaus said, crossly. He did know what the word "perished" meant, but he was still having trouble understanding exactly what it was that Mr. Poe had said. It seemed to him that Mr. Poe must somehow have misspoken.

"The fire department arrived, of course," Mr. Poe said, "but they were too late. The entire house was engulfed in fire. It burned to the ground."

Klaus pictured all the books in the library, going up in flames. Now he'd never read all of them.Mr. Poe coughed several times into his handkerchief before continuing. "I was sent to retrieve you here, and to take you to my home, where you'll stay for some time while we figure things out. I am the executor of your parents' estate. That means I will be handling their enormous fortune and figuring out where you children will go. When Violet comes of age, the fortune will be yours, but the bank will take charge of it until you are old enough."

Although he said he was the executor, Violet felt like Mr. Poe was the executioner. He had simply walked down the beach to them and changed their lives forever.

"Come with me," Mr. Poe said, and held out his hand. In order to take it, Violet had to drop the stone she was holding. Klaus took Violet's other hand, and Sunny took Klaus's other hand, and in that manner the three Baudelaire children-the Baudelaire orphans, now-were led away from the beach and from their previous lives.

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning Movie Tie-in Edition

Chapter One

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 things happened in the lives of the three Baudelaire youngsters. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire were intelligent children, and they were charming, and resourceful, and had pleasant facial features, but they were extremely unlucky, and most everything that happened to them was rife with misfortune, misery, and despair. I'm sorry to tell you this, but that is how the story goes.

Their misfortune began one day at Briny Beach. The three Baudelaire children lived with their parents in an enormous mansion at the heart of a dirty and busy city, and 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, where they would spend the day as a sort of vacation as long as they were home for dinner. This particular morning it was gray and cloudy, which didn't bother the Baudelaire youngsters one bit. When it was hot and sunny, Briny Beach was crowded with tourists and it was impossible to find a good place to lay one's blanket. On gray and cloudy days, the Baudelaires had the beach to themselves to do what they liked.

Violet Baudelaire, the eldest, liked to skip rocks. Like most fourteen-year-olds, she was right-handed, so the rocks skipped farther across the murky water when Violet used her right hand than when she used her left. As she skipped rocks, she was looking out at the horizon and thinking about an invention she wanted to build. Anyone who knew Violet well could tell she was thinking hard, because her long hair was tied up in a ribbon to keep it out of her eyes. Violet had a real knack for inventing and building strange devices, so her brain was often filled with images of pulleys, levers, and gears, and she never wanted to be distracted by something as trivial as her hair. This morning she was thinking about how to construct a device that could retrieve a rock after you had skipped it into the ocean.

Klaus Baudelaire, the middle child, and the only boy, liked to examine creatures in tidepools. Klaus was a little older than twelve and wore glasses, which made him look intelligent. He was intelligent. The Baudelaire parents had an enormous library in their mansion, a room filled with thousands of books on nearly every subject. Being only twelve, Klaus of course had not read all of the books in the Baudelaire library, but he had read a great many of them and had retained a lot of the information from his readings. He knew how to tell an alligator from a crocodile. He knew who killed Julius Caesar. And he knew much about the tiny, slimy animals found at Briny Beach, which he was examining now.

Sunny Baudelaire, the youngest, liked to bite things. She was an infant, and very small for her age, scarcely larger than a boot. What she lacked in size, however, she made up for with the size and sharpness of her four teeth. Sunny was at an age where one mostly speaks in a series of unintelligible shrieks. Except when she used the few actual words in her vocabulary, like "bottle," "mommy," and "bite," most people had trouble understanding what it was that Sunny was saying. For instance, this morning she was saying "Gack!" over and over, which probably meant, "Look at that mysterious figure emerging from the fog!"

Sure enough, in the distance along the misty shore of Briny Beach there could be seen a tall figure striding toward the Baudelaire children. Sunny had already been staring and shrieking at the figure for some time when Klaus looked up from the spiny crab he was examining, and saw it too. He reached over and touched Violet's arm, bringing her out of her inventing thoughts.

"Look at that," Klaus said, and pointed toward the figure. It was drawing closer, and the children could see a few details. It was about the size of an adult, except its head was tall, and rather square.

"What do you think it is?" Violet asked.

"I don't know," Klaus said, squinting at it, "but it seems to be moving right toward us."

"We're alone on the beach," Violet said, a little nervously. "There's nobody else it could be moving toward." She felt the slender, smooth stone in her left hand, which she had been about to try to skip as far as she could. She had a sudden thought to throw it at the figure, because it seemed so frightening.

"It only seems scary," Klaus said, as if reading his sister's thoughts, "because of all the mist."

This was true. As the figure reached them, the children saw with relief that it was not anybody frightening at all, but somebody they knew: Mr. Poe. Mr. Poe was a friend of Mr. and Mrs. Baudelaire's whom the children had met many times at dinner parties. One of the things Violet, Klaus, and Sunny really liked about their parents was that they didn't send their children away when they had company over, but allowed them to join the adults at the dinner table and participate in the conversation as long as they helped clear the table. The children remembered Mr. Poe because he always had a cold and was constantly excusing himself from the table to have a fit of coughing in the next room.

Mr. Poe took off his top hat, which had made his head look large and square in the fog, and stood for a moment, coughing loudly into a white handkerchief. Violet and Klaus moved forward to shake his hand and say how do you do.

"How do you do?" said Violet.

"How do you do?" said Klaus.

"Odo yow!" said Sunny.

"Fine, thank you," said Mr. Poe, but he looked very sad. For a few seconds nobody said anything, and the children wondered what Mr. Poe was doing there at Briny Beach, when he should have been at the bank in the city, where he worked. He was not dressed for the beach.

"It's a nice day," Violet said finally, making conversation. Sunny made a noise that sounded like an angry bird, and Klaus picked her up and held her.

"Yes, it is a nice day," Mr. Poe said absently, staring out at the empty beach. "I'm afraid I have some very bad news for you children."

The three Baudelaire siblings looked at him. Violet, with some embarrassment, felt the stone in her left hand and was glad she had not thrown it at Mr. Poe.

"Your parents," Mr. Poe said, "have perished in a terrible fire."

The children didn't say anything.

"They perished," Mr. Poe said, "in a fire which destroyed the entire house. I'm very, very sorry to tell you this, my dears."

Violet took her eyes off Mr. Poe and stared out at the ocean. Mr. Poe had never called the Baudelaire children "my dears" before. She understood the words he was saying but thought he must be joking, playing a terrible joke on her and her brother and sister.

"'Perished,'" Mr. Poe said, "means 'killed.'"

"We know what the word 'perished' means," Klaus said, crossly. He did know what the word "perished" meant, but he was still having trouble understanding exactly what it was that Mr. Poe had said. It seemed to him that Mr. Poe must somehow have misspoken.

"The fire department arrived, of course," Mr. Poe said, "but they were too late. The entire house was engulfed in fire. It burned to the ground."

Klaus pictured all the books in the library, going up in flames. Now he'd never read all of them.Mr. Poe coughed several times into his handkerchief before continuing. "I was sent to retrieve you here, and to take you to my home, where you'll stay for some time while we figure things out. I am the executor of your parents' estate. That means I will be handling their enormous fortune and figuring out where you children will go. When Violet comes of age, the fortune will be yours, but the bank will take charge of it until you are old enough."

Although he said he was the executor, Violet felt like Mr. Poe was the executioner. He had simply walked down the beach to them and changed their lives forever.

"Come with me," Mr. Poe said, and held out his hand. In order to take it, Violet had to drop the stone she was holding. Klaus took Violet's other hand, and Sunny took Klaus's other hand, and in that manner the three Baudelaire children-the Baudelaire orphans, now-were led away from the beach and from their previous lives.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning Movie Tie-in Edition. Copyright © by Lemony Snicket. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 1377 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 17, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I'm Hooked!

    I bought the Lemony Snicket book 1 to get motivated to continue with my desire to write my own children's story. Surprisingly, I am hooked! I read through book one and couldn't wait to get book 2! I am now on the 4th in the series and look forward to reading each and every one! I won't miss a book! They are fun and great reading for ALL ages. So get started and enjoy!

    94 out of 104 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2011

    AWSOMENESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    At first I didn't really like the series but then after I finished the first chapter I got hooked into the book on the nook.

    49 out of 66 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2010

    Great Kiddie Book!

    I loved this book even though I'm 39. I bought it for my 11 year old son and the cover didn't look too exciting to him. He had to have a book report book and this was the only one we had at home. I started reading the first page late one night and couldn't put it down. I read the first 3 chapters and finished it the next day. I was pretty good for a "kiddie" book. I'm ready to start the next one...the reptile room i believe it is.

    39 out of 49 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2007

    Very Adventurous

    A Series of Unfortunate Events The Bad Beginnning This story is about three children whose parents are killed in a fire, so they have to go live with their uncle, Count Olaf. When the three children¿s parents are killed in the fire, their dad¿s old friend, Mr. Poe, helps them. Mr. Poe gives them over to Count Olaf, and then they realize he¿s only after the family fortune. The three children try to catch the Count throughout the book. I recommend this book to everyone, because it keeps you on the edge of your seat. I liked this book because the children are smart. They were smart because when Count Olaf tried to marry the oldest child, Violet, they were reading laws about marriage. They made a plan to catch Count Olaf trying to marry Violet against her will. To catch Count Olaf is very smart because they read the law books and made plans. I liked this book because of the children¿s personalities. They were always happy when they were together doing anything. They were motivated when working on the plan to catch Count Olaf. They knew that they shouldn¿t be scared of Count Olaf because they had each other. I liked this book because it leaves you with a cliffhanger. You don¿t know what is going to happen to the children when they leave Count Olaf. You wonder where Count Olaf disappeared to, and what is he going to do when he comes back. When you are reading this book you feel like you are in the children¿s shoes, and still keeps you on the edge of your seat. Reading this book leaves you with a cliffhanger to let you know there is another a story.

    36 out of 52 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    Great book

    I really enjoyed reading the sad tales.
    If you dont like sad books, dont read these ones.

    26 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2011

    Awesome series

    I have read the frist two books and watched the movie (books 1-3). It is awesome.

    26 out of 38 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    WEIRD AND WONDERFUL..READING AND LEARNING HIDDEN IN GHOULISH FUN!

    This book begins a long series that entices the reader at every turn. The characters are truly overblown and, therefore, incredibly fun to read about. It harks back to the 1930's movie serials with the heroes placed in the most threatening and in turn ridiculous situations. The beauty of the book is that while it is thrilling it is not gory or frightening in any real way. The book begins the chronicles of the three orphaned Baudelaire children, Violet, Klaus and baby Sunny,each with unusual skills, who would be right at home with the kids from the Addams family or the cartoons of Edward Gorey. They are trying survive so that they can find the out why their parents were killed. Every page is a high level language lesson. Words are used and then explained in context so the reader is exposed to incredible amounts of vocabulary in the most painless way possible.

    These books are a delight to read and so engaging that both girls and boys can't wait to read them. Even the author, Lemony Snicket, is part of the fun as the books are "mysteriously" written and given to Daniel Hendler to be share with the world.

    In the first book they are placed in the custody of their "Uncle" a nefarious character with a telltale tattoo on his ankle....and the fun begins.

    Do your child aged 9+ a favor and invite him or her into the world of Lemony Snicket.

    24 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 21, 2009

    This Is A Wonderful Book

    I love this book. It's about three brilliant kids who try to get away from their mean, evil relative. This is breath taking and a beautiful work of art.

    22 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2012

    Tainna

    Best bookkk!!!!!!its the bomb digetty.

    18 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    my book review!!

    Book Reveiw

    This book Unfortunate Events is a great book. It is written by Lemony Snicket. It is a fiction book and adventure book. I thinki this book is a good short book for 5 and 6 graders. It has 162 pages in it so, it is not a very long story. It is full of idea's from the baudelaire children. The name's of the baudelair's are Sunny, Klause, and Violet. I give this book a 5 star for it's rating. It has alot of adventure and when u start reading it you want to keep reading it.


    This book is about 3 children that's parent's died in a fire at there house. The 3 children, Klause, Sunny, and Violet are very smart children that know how to build very big and hard inventions, like building a raft to survive on water. The baudelair family only had 1 friend that would offer to watch the kids when there parents died. His name is Count Olaf. He is the most meanest person you will ever meet in your life. He hates the children but keeps them for only 1 reason. The children have to sleep in a room that is the size of a closet and no view of the city. They have to make there own food and drinks. Count Olaf has an evil crew and he is the leader.

    16 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2012

    LOL

    I love the serie of unfortunate events they are awesome and i want the special edition even though i read the origanal one lol I CANT WAIT TO READ IT ive read like all the books and i started to read them AT THE END OF SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!! AND IM ELEVEN YEARS OLD!!!!!!!!!!!!

    10 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2004

    A disappointed reader

    Given all the recent talk regarding this book, I felt compelled to find out exactly what was the content of such a book that my young nieces and nephews might be reading. To my disappointment, I found a poorly written book that merely and obviously attempts to capture the profitable audience of children with a series of books, much the same way Harry Potter has. In addition, I was also horrified to find a plot consisting of an incestuous relationship, which undermines the sanctity of marriage by presenting it as just a legal means to an end. Upon completion of this book, I was forced to return it for fear that one day my nieces and nephews might find it in my library and want to read it.

    9 out of 43 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    Love it!!!!

    Love the book and the movie but the book better!!!!!!

    8 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 26, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius" for TeensReadToo.com

    After already having seen the movie, I decided to invest in reading the books. Bk #1, THE BAD BEGINNING, only took me an hour to finish, and it was an enjoyable--if dark--read. <BR/><BR/>The Baudelaire children--Violet, Klaus, and Sunny--are left orphaned after a mysterious fire destroys their home and kills their parents. Taken into custody by Mr. Poe, the executor of their parent's estate, they learn that their parent's will states that they must be cared for by a relative. The closest relative, unbeknownest to the children, is Count Olaf, an actor and leader of a theatre troupe who lives in a dilapitated house on the other side of town. <BR/><BR/>Things, of course, only go from bad to worse after the children move into Count Olaf's home, which is strangely covered inside and out with drawings and representations of a strange-looking eye. Count Olaf even has a tattoo of the same image on his ankle. As the Count hatches a scheme to gain control of the Baudelaire fortune, which the children are not privy to until Violet comes of age, the children are alternately scared of their new "parent" and determined to find a way out of their dreadful situation. <BR/><BR/>I enjoyed this walk on the dark side, and plan on reading Book #2 in the series later today. That said, however, I think it depends on your child and his or her maturity as to whether this would be a good read for them or not. Although the reading material is suitable for around 8 years old and up, the book IS dark-natured, and might scare some children. If they've already seen the movie, they might be prepared for its darkness--if the movie depiction scared them, then hold off on the book for awhile.

    8 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2012

    The bad beginning

    The bad beginning is a great beginning to the series. It is full of excitement action and mystery. If you arent someone who likes fiction than you will still love this series. Even though it may get a little confusing along the way. Lemony Snicket really describes the pain and dissapointment the bauldelaires are dealling with.A series of unfortunate events is one of the best series you will ever read and i mean it. Lemony Snicket deserves a thumbs up!!!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2012

    Fantastic book!

    Great book. I am proud to say that i'm hooked to fantasy books now. Before, I refused to read any book that looked like fantasy. I opened the book thinking it be the most boring book ever not knowing that I, later that day would not get off the couch until I finished the book. I really liked the plot. I enjoyed the part when Klaus figured out the evil plan. I am on book 7 now and I will not stop reading until I finish the series. Who knows? Maybe you'll read the series!?!!


    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 5, 2011

    Lame

    Mark my words do NOT get it

    7 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2012

    VFD

    This book is Very Finely Described with Vindictive, Fairly Dreadful people. If you lived in a Village Full of Demons, I wouldn't read this book, I would Valliantly Flee to a Distant land. If you were a Vile, Famous Delinquent, I guess you could read this book, but it is a Veering Flimsy Drive down to the road of justice. If you are a member of an organization that is for a noble cause, then this could be a Valuable, Fine Device to use for information.

    If you'd excuse me, I need to go Vacuum the Fairly Dusty carpet.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2012

    Do not buy this book

    Do not buy 83 pages

    6 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2012

    This is a terrible book, designed solely to sell a series to uns

    This is a terrible book, designed solely to sell a series to unsuspecting parents. The plot is boring, the characters flat, and the writing ho-hum. This is not worth your valuable time with your children.

    6 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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