All parent member reviews for The Bad Beginning: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1

Parents say

(out of 12 reviews)
age 8+
Review this title!
Parent of a 8 year old Written bywaterlilies September 22, 2010

Darkly Humorous, not for the little ones

We're up to the third book now, but I thought I'd post for those considering starting the series. I have a real affection for these books, as well as some concerns. Count Olaf is a truly awful villain, with a habit of murdering each of the orphans' caretakers. Most adults, including their guardian at the bank, Mr. Poe, are kindhearted but ineffectual and emotionally unavailable; the kids are often left to their own devices to save themselves. However, the kids are well-mannered, generous and ingenuitive. They manage to keep their inherent goodness, and stick together, despite exposure to situations that are not innocent. Oh, and there are lots of good vocabulary words with situational definitions. My 8-year-old and I are really enjoying this series, but I wish we'd waited to start it until she was a bit older, like 9 or 10.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 9 year old Written byrachel4missions January 16, 2011
As an adult, it's a little underwhelming. I preferred the movie a lot more. The books are for a much younger audience, and so each one is very short and contains a lot of explanations of vocabulary. Back in my day (when we walked 10 miles barefoot in the snow to school, uphill both ways, doncha know!) we didn't have a bunch of vocabulary explanations, and we either figured out the word from the context or we used our children's dictionary to look it up. Older readers will probably roll their eyes at the brevity and explanations in the book. However, this would be a great book for someone who is a pretty decent reader but is low on vocabulary. I haven't reached this part in the book series yet, but in the movie the "moral of the story" is that no matter how bad things get, the good things are still there and even better for the bad times. That was very comforting to me in a dark time, cheesily enough.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Adult Written byCrazy Chel April 9, 2008

I was almost too depressed to finish.

While the creative and descriptive language would help any youth expand their vocab, sometimes it was a bit too much. The constant sence of tragedy, sadness and fear was a bit overwhelming too. My husband loved this book, but having seen some frightening things myself growing up I could not recomend this to any child under 12. A full comprehension of reality and imaginary is needed.
Adult Written bybronlib April 9, 2008

Refreshingly different, but caution for younger listeners

My two children (6 and 8) and myself all enjoyed this book although they did get a little concerned when chapters ended on a particularly precarious note. Questions were raised about what would happen if they became orphans, and who they could turn to for help should they need it. The style of writing was refreshing, and my 8 year old enjoyed repeating interesting words she hadn't come across before.
Adult Written byjoshaurora April 9, 2008

A Reflection of the Subtleness of Evil

I've listened to all of the books in this series. The audiotapes read by Tim Curry (most of them) are superb, as his characterizations are very skillful. This book and this series deals with the dreadful theme of how ordinary people cooperate with evil rather than deal with the painful consequences of opposing it. Because the Beaudelaires are helpless children who suffer the consequences of passivity and complacency of the adults around them (many of whom are supposed to be protecting them), the painfulness of these consequences is heightened. Thus, the morality is helpful, if dreadful.
Adult Written byBrij1234 March 1, 2015
What other families should know
Great role models
Parent Written byvillebilly February 9, 2016

Mystery, adventure, and humor are all here

First off, this book is a bit dark, maybe too much so for younger readers in that it deals with the death of the family's parents right off the bat. It contains an evil villain who in later books is even willing to murder. But personally I don't think kids should be shielded from the fact that evil does abound in this world. And I don't want my kids to think books are only fairy tales and happy endings since that is not how real life is. I love the fact that the three main characters are resourceful kids who can often use their knowledge (from inventing and book reading) to figure things out that many adults would not be able to do. The writing style is both peculiar and educational. While there is much suspense, the general theme of bad things happening to them is reminded often. I love that the writer uses many words and phrases that kids would not normally know. He then immediately, sometimes as part of the story and sometimes as part of the narration, explains what such words and/or phrases mean (ie making a mountain out of a molehill). This book lays the groundwork for the entire series as we slowly learn more about the Baudalaire family. It does contain some violence (someone being knocked to the floor) but mostly threats of violence. I love that my son loves these books (even though at times the suspense is killing him) because I like them too.
Parent Written byparentobelibers October 16, 2011

JUST SHARING....

this book is truly wonderful, and snicket does a wonderful job at delivering a life-like feel throught all 13 marvilous books.
Adult Written bythis.girl.love.cats October 4, 2015

it was ok

This book wasn't all that bad but it wasn't all that good. I say that because sometimes i'll get confuse on what is happening and somethings it gets a little bet boring. These kids in the book live in misery and woe. many bad thing happen to them often. But one might say they are magnets for misfortune. Something you might notice is that the siblings are trying to find out what they saw in chapter one. This story might of had happen in the 1940s or 1960s. I would not recommend this to 8 year old because they be like whats going on. But older kids, maybe if they have a brain that doesn't get distracted because the characters are at a place and suddenly in the next page they are in a building. This book might give a great message to little kid to not go wondering around the neighborhood. I say that because this kids just wondered of from home. I would say they are great role models because they try to find out whats going on and try to let nothing get in there way. I didn't click the other boxes because the book didn't have any of that.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bykecenglishfrench November 28, 2009
I absolutely loved this book. It's a bit dark and violent, and the adults aren't always good (or that bright), but there are positive adults and the kids are fantastic and funny. I think parents may want to read with the kids so if the kids are bothered the book can be discussed.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bytommysportsgirl April 9, 2008

One of the best in the series!

Highly intelligent and well-written.
Parent Written byshanerocks May 12, 2012

FANTASTIC BOOK AND SERIES!

Once you read the first book you will be hooked. Although the series is very sad.
What other families should know
Too much violence