Reviews for Bad Beginning


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 December 1999
%% This is a multi-book review. SEE the title "The Reptile Room" for next imprint and review text. %% ((Reviewed December 1, 1999)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2000 Spring
Three orphans are sent to live with evil Count Olaf, who desperately plots to secure their inheritance. In the second volume, the children find happiness with a kindly herpetologist uncle until Olaf appears to cause more trouble. Related by a (per)snickety narrator, the books' unbelievable plot turns and one-dimensional characters parody bygone dime novels, but stylistic flourishes keep the stories entertaining.Copyright 2000 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 1999 July #2
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) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2003 October #1
Stand back, Snicket fans, the latest Unfortunate Events are about to unfold in The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket, illus. by Brett Helquist. Violet and Klaus Baudelaire must climb the titular terrain as they search for their sister Sunny in the Mortmain Mountains, after she is kidnapped by-who else-the diabolical Count Olaf. Will they reunite? Will they find their way out? Read on and find out.... Also being released this month, a slip-covered edition of the launch title, The Bad Beginning: Rare Edition, along with a stand-up portrait of the calamitous cast. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1999 September #1
"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 plan for 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 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 1999 November
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.

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