The Bad Beginning or, Orphans: A Series of Unfortunate Events No. 1, by Lemony Snicket, illustrations by Brett Helquist, Harpertrophy, New York, 1999.
This is the beginning of this series of 13 books. In this we are introduced to three children, the Baudelaire children, Violet, Klaus and Sunny, who are made orphans in the first chapter. They have inherited a large fortune, which is the only reason anyone takes an interest in them. Certainly Mr. Poe from the bank, really is not interested in their welfare, but his status at the bank with handling a large account. And definitely no Count Olaf, who schemes of getting his hands on the money. Mr. Poe appoints the Count as their legal guardian. The judge who lives next door would take an interest, but the cannot live with her as she is not a relative. The parents will, before being burned in a fire, states they must be raised by relatives.
In this book terrible things happen. they are made to live in deplorable conditions, they are set to do excessive amounts of work, but worse Klaus is hit, Sunny is locked in a cage, and Violet is force to marry the Count. It seems they have no where to turn, and those who should have protected them fail to do so.
Lemony Snicket's style of writing is very catching. He often goes down, "you shouldn't read this book" etc. He also has an interesting way of explaining words.
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