The Bad Beginning is the first in a series of thirteen books featuring the hapless Baudelaire orphans. After their parents die in a tragic house fire, Klaus, Violet and Sunny are shipped off to live with their uncle, the evil Count Olaf. It quickly becomes clear to them that they are not welcome at Olaf’s…especially when they learn of his plot to steal their inheritance!
These books are very fun and should be suitable for most middle-grade readers, although the humor is so smart that I’ve even caught a few of my adult friends reading them as well! I really enjoyed the way that the children seem to always be smarter than the adults, especially once they’ve learned of Count Olaf’s diabolical plan.
It’s my goal to work through the rest of the series this year, but I couldn’t help thinking about how many children’s book characters are orphans. I don’t know why that is, except for maybe that writing about orphans could give an author more freedom to explore different situations without worrying about how parents might obstruct the plot of the story? But what do you think? Does writing a character’s parents into the story add to the plot, or would it shift the focus off of the kids?