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Daniel Handler's Lemony Snicket series
is the hottest thing in children's book
publishing since Harry Potter.
4189 ORCHARD LAKE
Lemony Fresh Lit
DEBRA B. DARVICK
mist, a stranger approaches.
When the mysterious figure reveals
himself to be Mr. Poe, a family
arry Potter, look out.
friend, the three Beaudeliares relax.
Lemony Snicket and his
But their relief is momentary. Mr.
"A Series of Unfortunate
Poe shares with them the tragic fact
Events" seem but a
that their parents have perished in a
wand's length away.
fire that has also destroyed the
Snicket's "Series" is actually penned
by Daniel Handler (Mr. Snicket's
Faster than you can say, "best-sell-
"official representative in all legal lit-
ing children's series," the Baudelaires
erary and social matters"), a 33-year-
are in dire straits indeed. Life goes
old writer who lives in San Francsico
from bad to worse as they fall into
with his wife, Lisa Brown, an artist
the clutches of Count Olaf, who is
and graphic designer. He is the son
determined to get his greedy hands
of Sandra Handler, the dean of
on the Baudelaires' sizeable inheri-
behavioral sciences at
the City College of San
Mr. Poe, family exec-
Francisco, and Lou
tor, is blind as Magoo to
Handler, a CPA.
the perils that surround
his charges and places
details the melodramati-
them in Dickensian liv-
cally woeful lives of the
In addition to a thick
orphans: Sunny, Klaus
layer of literary allusions
(Cafe Kafka, Prufrock
Anyone up on the
Preparatory School, Dr.
Newport, R.I., society
Georgina Orwell) and
pages of the '80s (hint:
the von Bulow murder
trials) already has an
many asides draw his
inkling of the sly refer-.
Daniel Handler: The
young readers' attention
ences, allusions and gen- devilish wit behind
to unfamiliar words.
Once finished with a
teasers that will likely
reworked his partially
Snicket book, a young-
sail over the heads of
completed neo-Victorian, ster will have more than
Snicket's young readers
mock gothic novel for
a passing familiarity with
only to evoke wry grins
adults into his first 7/1
a wonderfully rich vocab-
and smirks from their
Series of Unfortunate
parents. A movie based
on the series' first three
not only about Snidely
books — nine of the 13 planned vol-
Whiplash shenanigans, verbal or oth-
umes have so far been released — is
erwise. A brief missive on grief is as
in the works.
poetic as it is truthful.
In "Book the First," ominously
In "Book the Ninth," The
titled The Bad Beginning, misfortune
Carnivorous Carnival, the
awaits the Baudelaires on the sands of Beaudelaires receive hints from a for-
tuneteller that their parents may be
The three siblings — Violet, the
alive. Only dastardly Count Olaf
eldest who has a knack for inventing,
would be blind to the soft curl of
middleton Klaus, a voracious reader,
hope that rises in the siblings' hearts.
and Sunny, an inveterate - biter whose
Handler writes, "Grief, a type of
infant babble is readily translated by
sadness that most often occurs when
Mr. Snicket — happily occupy them-
you have lost someone you love, is a
selves with skipping rocks and crea-
snaky thing because it can disappear
ture exploration until, out of the
for a long time and then pop back up
Special to the Jewish News