A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning

Chapter Book

Bibliographic Information: Snicket, Lemony. A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1999.

Plot Description:
The rich Baudelaire children Violet, Klaus, and Sunny visit a beach, and are informed later that their parents died. They go live with a distant uncle, Count Olaf. He thought that by becoming their guardians, he could get their money, but the inheritance has been set aside until Violet turns 18. He gives them overly long lists of chores to complete while he works with his acting troupe. He gives them no possessions and they have to share a room. One night he tells them that his troupe is coming over and instructs them to make dinner for them all. They have to buy ingredents and Olaf gets mad at them for the meal. He locks Sunny up to make Klaus and Violet obey him, because he found out he can marry Violet with her guardian’s permission (himself) to get to the money, and can set it within a play. Violet signs the contract in the play with her off-hand, which makes the marriage null. Olaf is arrested, but he gets away.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile: 1010; Accelerated Reader: 6.4

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This book is written in third-person, focusing on the poor relationship between the siblings and Olaf. It teaches about how greed is a downfall. The text is 5th grade reading level.

Content Area: English

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Literature for K-5: #2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text; #4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes; #10 Read and comprehend literature in grade level text complexity range.
  • CCSS for Informational Text for K-5: #5 Compare and contrast the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts; #8 Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text, identifying which reasons and evidence support which point(s).
  • CCSS for Foundational Skills for K-5:  #4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a great chapter book to use in English Language Arts Curriculum. It is best suited to 4th grade through 6th grade. It explores themes like morality and adventure.


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