The Bad Beginning is the first book in Lemony Snicket’s, A Series of Unfortunate Events. This series is a quirky tale that many students will be drawn to. It is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.
The Bad Beginning was first published in 1999 and has since been made into a film and a Netflix series. The book is narrated by Lemony Snicket who tells the tale of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire, three orphans who have some really bad luck! Lemony Snicket starts the tale by warning his reader to not read the book:
I’m sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune.
In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast.
It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing.
With all due respect,
What better way to make students want to read more than by telling them not to! I offer a complete novel study to accompany The Bad Beginning for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.
The Bad Beginning is a great novel to hook students into wanting more. The quirkiness and mystery are enough to engage even the most reluctant of readers.
There are twelve additional books in the series for students to read on their own.
Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!
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