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Parents' Guide to

The Bad Beginning: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1

By Peter Lewis, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

A cliff-hanging orphan adventure wrapped in black humor.

The Bad Beginning: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 11 parent reviews

age 8+

My Childhood Favorite is Now my Son’s

I rated this for 8+ but I think it’s dependent on your child. I started with my 3 and 6 year old but I forgot how dark it is. It’s too much for my younger child so I now only read it to my 6 year old who is very mature and understanding at his age. We just finished up a chapter tonight and he ran to the kitchen and grabbed a flashlight to read under his covers, just like one of the main characters, Klaus. I love that he can identify with such awesome child characters, learn new language, and follow optimistically along with a rather dark plot. He asked for me to buy all of the books and read them all to him.
age 8+

A Great Beginning, (if you want your kids to be excited about reading)....

My daughter absolutely loved the series. I read one them to her when she was seven, but she started reading them on her own at 8. However she was a greater reader so you might want to start it little later. I have fond memories of her excitement when I used to surprise her by leaving a new volume on her bed for her to read before sleep. I think she read through them all three times. She liked the plotting and the genre (its gothic) but most of all she loved the playful use of language. She now writes her own stories for enjoyment and I have to give this series some of the credit. She turns sixteen today and I have been doing a indoor scavenger hunt for her birthday since she can remember birthdays. Social distancing practices are preventing me from seeing her today so forgive me if I use this site to leave the next clue for her digital version. Happy Birthday Anna!!! Think of a lullaby that I used to sing before bed One with so few words, that even I know them dead. Roxanne's star sang it in Housesitter, that's your tip Look on a femalesheepbritishsubway for a funnymovieclip

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (11 ):
Kids say (70 ):

Snicket successfully negotiates the treacherous waters of gallows humor in this first volume of his Series of Unfortunate Events. Like Edward Gorey, his success is due to the formal, deadpan quality of his fine writing and his understated way with catastrophe. The result is at once grim, sinister, and terrifically entertaining.

The book doesn't get by on ghoulishness alone; it needs a story, and it has a good one. Snicket keeps readers off balance: He states flatly that things won't turn out right for the Baudelaires, then holds out some promise, only to snatch it back. The story is enlivened by Helquist's occasional artwork.

Book Details

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