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A Box of Unfortunate Events: The Trouble Begins, Books 1-3

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The first Series of Unfortunate Events gift/box-set of this New York Times best-selling series.

The set includes The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, and The Wide Window.

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The first Series of Unfortunate Events gift/box-set of this New York Times best-selling series.

The set includes The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, and The Wide Window.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Lemony Snicket would like to apologize in advance for bestowing this horror upon you -- the first three Unfortunate Events starring the horribly ill-fated Baudelaire children are available in this convenient box set. Convenient, yes. A fun and carefree jaunt thru the lives of three happy-go-lucky youngsters? Not exactly. Lemony Snicket has been following Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire since their lives took an unpleasant turn downhill. Orphaned and forever looking for a home that is less that devastatingly horrid, these sibling are on a never-ending survival adventure.

The back of the box set features a letter from the narrator of all these tales, Lemony Snicket, pleading with readers to read happier books instead. Fans will be familiar with Snicket's pleas, as he repeats them in very book, several hundred times. However, his warnings mean nothing to readers, as A Series of Unfortunate Events continue to intrigue the millions. Will we ever learn?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060298098
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/2001
  • Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events
  • Edition description: Box Set, #1-3
  • Pages: 24
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 7.43 (h) x 2.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket is often despondent, mostly about his published research, which includes A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Composer Is Dead.

Brett Helquist's celebrated art has graced books from the charming Roger, The Jolly Pirate, to the alarming New York Times bestselling A Series of Unfortunate Events, to the cozy E. B. White Read-Aloud Award finalist bedtime for bear. He lives with his family in Brooklyn, New York.


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 & "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."

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    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

The Bad Beginning

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...

The Reptile Room

Chapter One

The stretch of road that leads out of the city, past Hazy Harbor and into the town of Tedia, is perhaps the most unpleasant in theworld. It is called Lousy Lane. Lousy Lane runs through fields that are a sickly gray color, in which a handful of scraggly trees produce apples so sour that one only has to look at them to feel ill. Lousy Lane traverses the Grim River, a body of water that is nine-tenths mud and that contains extremely unnerving fish, and it encircles a horseradish factory, so the entire area smells bitter and strong.

I am sorry to tell you that this story begins with the Baudelaire orphans traveling along this most displeasing road, and that from this moment on, the story only gets worse. Of all the people in the world who have miserable lives-and, as I'm sure you know, there are quite a few-the Baudelaire youngsters take the cake, a phrase which here means that more horrible things have happened to them than just about anybody. Their misfortune began with an enormous fire that destroyed their home and killed both their loving parents, which is enough sadness to last anyone a lifetime, but in the case of these three children it was only the bad beginning. After the fire, the siblings were sent to live with a distant relative named Count Olaf, a terrible and greedy man...

The Wide Window

Chapter One

If you didn't know much about the Baudelaire orphans, and you saw them sitting on their suitcases at Damocles Dock, you might think that they were bound for an exciting adventure. After all, the three children had just disembarked from the Fickle Ferry, which had driven them across Lake Lachrymose to live with their Aunt Josephine, and in most cases such a situation would lead to thrillingly good times.

But of course you would be dead wrong. For although Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire were about to experience events that would be both exciting and memorable, they would not be exciting and memorable like having your fortune told or going to a rodeo. Their adventure would be exciting and memorable like being chased by a werewolf through a field of thorny bushes at midnight with nobody around to help you. If you are interested in reading a story filled with thrillingly good times, I am sorry to inform you that you are most certainly reading the wrong book, because the Baudelaires experience very few good times over the course of their gloomy and miserable lives. It is a terrible thing, their misfortune, so terrible that I can scarcely bring myself to write about it. So if you do not want to read a story of tragedy and sadness, this is your very last chance to put this book down, because the misery of the Baudelaire orphans begins in the very next paragraph....

A Series of Unfortunate Events Box Set. 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
( 55 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 55 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2005


    The book in general is awfully boring. The author should stop explaining words to us and repeating himself and get on with the story. It was like a young children's show which do the same thing every episode. Like in this book. I can discribe everybook in this series with one sentence: Some kids had horrible luck and is sad at the begining of the book and is now once again sad in the end of the book. The author draaaaags out the story and he /should/ be sorry, not for the 'horror' or 'woe and dispair' but for an awful job at writing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2005

    really good book

    I read 1-10 and i was like upsessed with this series, then i took a year of not reading any and when i tried to read the 11th one and i couldnt get into it. But overall it is a great series and i think you should read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2005

    Very Good

    Some parts are slow like at the beginning of a chapter and the books, but overall very good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2005

    Shouldnt even be considered a book

    Lemony Snicket is apologizing for the horror? He should apologize for making us read that terrible book. This is not only a disgrace to the writing industry, it is a disgrace to our lives. He should just stop researching the Bauldaliares(sorry for misspelling) and start researching a good writing skill.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2005

    Great but miserable books

    I absolutely love these books! I think Lemony Snicket did a wonderful job telling the miserable stories of the three Baudelaires, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny. Anyone and everyone should read them!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2005

    The Trouble Begins

    In book one we are introduced to the three baudelaire children turned orphans, Violet, Klaus and Sunny and later their first guardian the horrible Count Olaf. In book two the baudelaires meet another guardian with olaf hot on their trail. In book three they meet another guardian who seems the second worst then olaf but olaf is still the baddest of them all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2005

    Great Book

    I never wanted to read this series but somebody gave the whole set of all 11 and I Loved them. Recommended to everybody ages ten and up

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2005

    Lemony Snicket is a Genius!

    These books are unlike anything I have ever read. They are all so fresh and original that it gets you hooked on them as soon as your done with the first few chapters. I can't wait for the next one to come out. I recommend these awesome reads to anyone who has an imagination and a sense of humor.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2005

    a series of unfortunate events

    join Violet,Klaus,and Sunny Baudelaire as they journey to escape from the misery that occurs after their parents death. As the Baudelaire¿s go along they are kept in the hands of a treacherous villain¿¿¿ Count Olaf! Soon after in the story the Baudelaire¿s find out Count Olaf¿s main scheme is to harm the Baudelaire orphans, and ungratefully snatch the Baudelaire fortune away, but along the way they unravel mysteries, mysteries that could destroy everything the children hold dearly. These books are filled with excitement>So join me and don¿t forget to read a series of unfortunate event

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2005

    Adult addicted to these books

    If you want to read some of the best books ever this is the way to go. I started reading these books about a month ago, now I am on book seven. I can't stop. This is a must read!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2005

    These are the BEST books I have ever read!!!!

    I love these books, unlike other books these keep you interested!!!!These three orphans Violet,Klaus,and Sunny Bauldalaire have a lot of unfortunate events in their lives, but I was fortunate enough to read these books!!!!READ THEM!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2005


    I am in 6th grade and I read books 1-11 and they are great!In my grade many kids are interested in these books.This series is the best I have ever read, and I read some interesting books.(including the Lord of the Rings series)These books are at the top of my birthday list. My birthday is tommorrow and I'm hoping to get them all in hard cover.Don't listen to the bad reviews, these books are very fascinating and only get better!I highly recommend these books because they kept me busy for almost three months.My dad was very happy to get them for me since he loves to see me actually reading. Also I have two brthers, one in 6th(my twin) and one in 4th.I got them both into these books and they both love them!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2005

    Absolute Brilliance:

    I have read all eleven books, The Unauthorized Autobiography, and seen the movie. I belive Lemony Snicket is a brilliant genius. The way he writes the books so absolutley perfect for children with so much suspence, intrigue and imagination. Plus the ability to add humor to such a gloomy story takes talent. Ever since I read the first book I was hooked, I can't wait for the next book to come out so I can immediatley read it and find out even more gruelling details about such a twisted and zany story. I would reccomend this book to anyone looking for a good and different book to read themselves or for their children to read. Not only does this stimulate imagination but it also teaches you vocabulary, a word which here means 'a group of words that you know the meaning and spelling of' and if you think that it would be too time consuming since there are eleven books all together, you couldn't be more wrong because each book only takes about a day to read since they aren't very long and written to where it is simple to read and understand. So, to make a long story short, read Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events. You wont regret it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2004

    An Unfortunate Review...

    These book are so unfortunately wonderful, that i've unfortunately read all of them, and am unfortunately awaiting the 12th and 13th books. :-)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2004

    you HAVE to read this series

    You have to read this series. I promise you will never put it down. No other series are as different as this one. But boy is it good. Five stars for the best series ever!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2004


    This series is GREAT!! Altough I have only read 1-7 I love them and I am planning on reading the rest of them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2004


    Wow! Wow! These are the most interesting and strange (in a good way) books that I have read in a long time. I love them! I recomend this seris to kids of all ages...big and small! I loved the 11th book. I can't wait until the 12th book comes out! Read them, read them! Happy reading!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2004

    Great Books!!!!

    This is a great set of books for a child or an adult looking for something interesting and entertaining. I am 12 years old and I enjoyed these books very much. A young child,such as my 8 year old broher, may not understand it very well. But for an older child,such as myself, or an adult it is a great book to read when you are in a bad situation and want to see what some people may be going through.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2004

    Loved The Books

    I loved how the author starts out happy then winds up sad. I also liked how he said if you do not like sad books then put this book down. I just loved the books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2004

    A Must Read

    Lemony Snicket is one of the best children's authors, I hope that every kid discovers this brilliant writer. Don't stop in the middle of the only gets better. This book leaves you on the edge of your seat prepare for alot of unsolved mysteries in the first ten books. Put down Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, A Series of Unfortunate event is ten times better than them. These mystery epics should blow the country away.

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