"There've been some people who read The Basic Eight over and over, and they're actually pretty spooky. But if a nine-year-old is reading your books over and over, and wants to talk about them with you, it's actually charming. At that age, you're loving books like you'll never love them again. The books you loved when you were in fourth grade and read them to tatters, you'll never love another book like that. And it's moving to think that my books are doing that for some kids, and that I'm affecting literature without, you know, collecting weirdos."
Daniel Handler continued
Daniel Handler is the real author of the Series of Unfortunate Events and all Lemony Snicket’s books.
Daniel Handler has written several pieces of adult literature.
The Basic Eight
Watch Your Mouth
Daniel Handler’s publisher asked him to write children’s literature and he said that he couldn’t because he thought children’s literature was “crap.” His publisher said that he should write some books with the same dark perspective that he wrote his adult literature in. Hence, the Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket.
YA Fiction Booklist
A Series of Unfortunate Events
The Bad Beginning
The Reptile Room
The Wide Window
The Miserable Mill
The Austere Academy
The Ersatz Elevator
The Vile Village
The Hostile Hospital
The Carnivorous Carnival
The Slippery Slope
The Grim Grotto
The Penultimate Peril
Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography
A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Beatrice Letters
Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid
The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming
The Lump of Coal
The Composer is Dead
The Bad Beginning Annotation
At the very beginning of this book, the reader is warned not to read any further if they were expecting a story with a happy ending. After that warning, Lemony Snicket goes on to explain that the Baudelaire orphans were at Briny Beach when they learned that their parents had perished in a fire that had also destroyed all their belongings. I was immediately drawn into the story because I have never read a story with a guarantee of no happy ending. That guarantee is a great hook at the beginning and it carries the reader through the entire series. I followed Violet, Klaus and Sunny as they found out about their parents death, their move to Count Olaf’s house, the “almost” marriage between Count Olaf and Violet and their friendship with Justice Strauss. This book has a lot happening, but not so much that it is impossible for the reader to keep track of the events. I enjoyed this book very much and it is an excellent beginning to a Series of Unfortunate Events .
The Miserable Mill Annotation The Miserable Mill is yet another horrible adventure that the Baudelaire orphans are forced to go through. The Baudelaires are on a train traveling through the Finite Forest with Mr. Poe to their new home at the Lucky Smells Lumbermill. They get dropped off at the train station and are forced to find their way to the lumbermill themselves. When they get there, they are forced to work even though they are children. Klaus eventually breaks his glasses and is forced to go to the optometrist. As it turns out, Count Olaf works there disguised as Shirley, the receptionist. While at the optometrist, Klaus is hypnotized and becomes very destructive and even lethal. Violet and Sunny are forced to find out how to save Klaus in the lumbermill’s library which only has three books. I loved this book. It was fun to read despite the warnings from Lemony Snicket about the horrible ending.
The End Annotation The End is a great ending to an amazing series. At the beginning of The End , Lemony Snicket talks about peeling an onion and relates that to the story of the Baudelaire orphans. He reminds the reader that it is not too late to put down this book and keep yourself from getting tears in your eyes. The Baudelaires are now stuck on a boat with Count Olaf and are in the middle of the ocean. They are subject to his ranting and threats until they get caught in a storm and crash into a coastal shelf. They are found by the island’s villagers and “encouraged” to drink coconut cordial. The End ends with the Baudelaires leaving the island with Lemony Snicket’s niece. Right before they leave, the niece says a word which ends the series; Beatrice. Beatrice is the person to whom Lemony Snicket dedicates all of the books. I loved this book. It was a great ending to an amazing series.
A Series of Unfortunate Events The Movie
This movie is cast very well, but it was not at all similar to the books. The movie seemed to take parts out of some of the books and leave other parts out. Also, the movie did not have the darkness and the despair that the books had. The Baudelaire orphans did not have enough trial and tribulation in the movie to represent the books well.
I do think that the movie is well made, but it should only be watched if the books are not going to be read. The movie has absolutely no place in the classroom or anywhere near where the books are going to be read. They are not very much alike and frankly, the movie does not do the books justice.
Lemony Snicket’s Writing Style
Lemony Snicket is the fly on the wall that knows everything about the Baudelaires and their associates, but does not actually interact in the story. He writes the story of the Baudelaire orphans in an investigative style.
Lemony Snicket is a big fan of alliteration… just look at the titles of his books.
At the end of each book, Lemony Snicket writes a letter to his publisher to let them know where he is and where the story is going.
Writing Style Continued
In each of the books in the Series of Unfortunate Events , the reader is warned to stop reading if they do not want to be unhappy.
At the end of The End , there is a chapter fourteen that is the true ending to the story.
Response on Books
Even though these books are written for children, I found them extremely enjoyable. I was not able to read any of the books by Lemony Snicket outside of the Series of Unfortunate Events . I will find time to read them though because I really enjoy Mr. Snicket’s writing style.
I think that the best part of the Series of Unfortunate Events is that Violet, Klaus and Sunny stick together very well. They treat each other like treasures. They also know each other’s strengths and let each other shine when it is necessary. I love the closeness of their family.
I also loved how much the Baudelaire orphans loved to read. No matter where they were, they were always searching for a library or a book. I think that is a very notable characteristic and something from which students can certainly learn.
This series is perfect for teaching students foreshadowing. I will read the book in class and stop at an awkward moment, of which there are plenty in this series, and ask the students to discuss what they think is going to happen next.
I will also assign a writing assignment for the students. The will have to write an unfortunate event that they imagine the Baudelaires going through.
The last strategy for teaching this book that I have is an alliteration assignment. I will have the students write an alliteration that they think represents this series.
Harper Collins Publications. (1999). Image of The Bad Beginning book. Retrieved November 27, 2008 from http://cdn.harpercollins.com/ harperimages/isbn/large/4/9780060283124.jpg
Internet Movie Poster Awards. (2004). Image of A Series of Unfortunate Events movie poster. Retrieved November 27, 2008 from http://www. impawards.com/2004/posters/lemony_snickets_a_series_of_ unfortunate_events_ver3.jpg
Fantastic Fiction. (2008). Image of The Miserable Mill book. Retrieved November 27, 2008 from http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ images/n9/n47867.jpg
Book Club 9. (2006). Image of The End book. Retrieved November 27, 2008 from http://www.bookclub9.com/userimages/user1367_ 1159100125.jpg