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Lemony Snicket Series Comes to an End (Unfortunately)



  • Arts & Humanities
  • Social Studies
    --Current Events


Grades 2-up

News Content

The Lemony Snicket book series comes to an end with the publication of book 13.

Anticipation Guide

Before reading this week's News for Kids article, ask students what they know about the series of Unfortunate Events books, as told by Lemony Snicket. Let students share what they know and some of the favorite events/parts they remember from the stories.

News Words

Introduce to students the words in the News Word Box on the students' printable page: mysterious, popular, orphans, destroyed, relative, and published. Ask them to use one of those words to complete each of these statements:

  • When will the next Harry Potter book be ___? (published)
  • The earthquake ___ hundreds of homes and businesses. (destroyed)
  • Police had no clues about the ___ disappearance of the valuable painting. (mysterious)
  • The Emperor's New Groove is one of the most ___ children's movies of the recent years. (popular)
  • Sarah's cousin Roy was the only ___ who lived nearby. (relative)
  • Social workers worked hard to find a good home for the ___. (orphans)

Read the News

Click for a printable version of this week's news story Lemony Snicket Series Comes to an End (Unfortunately).

Reading the News

You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:

* Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.

* Students might first read the news story to themselves; then call on individual students to read the news aloud for the class.

* Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write a note in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.

More Facts to Share

You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this week's news story.

  • Lemony Snicket is the narrator (and supposed author) of the book series A Series of Unfortunate Events. It seems especially fitting that the actual author of this miserable series, one Daniel Handler, would end it with volume 13, which debuted on the 13th of October.
  • Why did Daniel Handler use the name Lemony Snicket as the author of the series instead of his own name? Many authors use alternative names, or pseudonyms, to disguise their true identity. In this case, Handler had nothing to hide. He simply thought it was an amusing and appropriately mysterious touch for this series of books.
  • Did you know that the U.S. hardcover edition of the first book in the series, A Series of Unfortunate Events Book the First: The Bad Beginning, had a reversible cover? One side had the actual title on it, but kids could turn over the cover and the book would sit on their bookshelves disguised as The Luckiest Kids in the World Book 1: The Pony Party! by Loney M. Setnick. (Notice that the name Loney M. Setnick contains all of the same letters as Lemony Snicket does?)
  • On the eve of the release of A Series of Unfortunate Events Book the Twelfth: The Penultimate Peril, a satellite interview with Lemony Snicket was to be broadcast to 15 movie theaters around the United States. Hundreds of kids sat in the theaters awaiting the appearance of Mr. Snicket. Unfortunately, he met with a horrible accident with a fly and was unable to attend. Daniel Handler did the broadcast in Snicket's place.

Comprehension Check

Recalling Detail

  • When did the latest Lemony Snicket book go on sale? (October 13)
  • How many books are in the Lemony Snicket series? (13)
  • What are the names of the three Baudelaire orphans? (Violet, Klaus, and Sunny)
  • To what relative's home were the children sent when their parents died? (They were sent to live in Count Olaf's home.)
  • How many copies of Lemony Snicket books have been sold around the world? (more than 35 million)
  • What was the name of the first book in the Lemony Snicket series? (The Bad Beginning)
  • What is Lemony Snicket's real name? (Daniel Handler)

Think About the News
Discuss the Think About the News question that appears on the students' news page. Which students came up with the most unique pseudonyms? You might have them continue the activity as homework. They and their parents can have fun around the dinner table coming up with pseudonyms.

Follow-Up Activities

More about pseudonyms. Authors are not the only ones who use pseudonyms. Many actors and singers use pseudonyms, or stage names, instead of their birth names. You might copy the activity below onto a board or chart and have students use this List of Pseudonyms from Wikipedia to match the people's birth names and pseudonyms. The correct answers are: 1.a, 2.g, 3.h, 4.f, 5.d, 6.e, 7.c, 8.b.

1. Alicia Keys a. Alicia Augello Cook
2. Bono b. Calvin Broadus
3. Elton John c. Dana Owens
4. Eminem d. Eric Bishop
5. Jamie Foxx e. James Todd Smith
6. LL Cool J f. Marshall Mathers III
7. Queen Latifah g. Paul Hewson
8. Snoop Dogg h. Reginald Kenneth Dwight

Compare and contrast. Share with students the movie version of Snicket's first three books. Have them compare the movie to the books. What changes were made? What things were just the same as in the books?

Writing. If students have read some or all of the Series of Unfortunate Events books, ask them to write a paragraph that explains a favorite part or that tells why they liked (or did not like) the series. For students who have not read any of the books, ask them to write a paragraph about one of their favorite books; they should explain what they liked most about the book.

Just for fun. Check out the Stuff for Brats on the Lemony Snicket Web site. There you will find a crossword puzzle, a word search, a secret message to decode, and much more.

Critical thinking. Share with students the TIME for Kids interview with Daniel Handler. The interview was given on the eve of the debut of Book the Thirteenth: The Ending. Have students work in groups to come up with additional questions they would like to ask Daniel Handler.


Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News questions on the news story page or in the Comprehension Check section.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

National Standards

National Standards

NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
NL-ENG.K-12.3 Evaluation Strategies
NL-ENG.K-12.6 Applying Knowledge
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

See recent news stories in Education World's News Story of the Week Archive.

Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World®
Copyright © 2006 Education World