Although the characters are a bit stereotypical and flat, the story is fun. I enjoyed seeing how the children would counter Count Olaf as he tried to get the better of them. It was much like a chess match between two equally skilled opponents.
This quick read gives lessons on figurative and literal language and many lessons on vocabulary. Each volume of this series is small, slim, has larger font, and is easy to read even though the Lexile measure on the first book is 1010L.
At the beginning of chapter two after the children have learned of their parents' deaths, the narrator says, "It is useless for me to describe to you how terrible Violet, Klauss, and even Sunny felt in the time that followed. If you have ever lost someone very important to you then you already know how it feels, and if you haven't, you cannot possible imagine it" (10).
This is profound in its honesty. There are passages throughout the book containing sage advice, and for a seemingly simple story, it is rich in symbolism and wisdom.
If you've seen the movie, you will agree that Jim Carrey was perfect as Count Olaf.
Read to a child today even if that child is you.