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Lemony Snicket Read-Alikes and Supplements

Sunny We can't imagine why you would want to read books that are anything like The Series of Unfortunate Events.  In fact, we advise that you try one of the happy books on our pleasant shelves.  But if you insist on trying to find more worrisome tales of grief and distress in which mysterious, tragic, and sometimes briefly amusing things happen to otherwise normal young children, we suggest that you look here:

Try these books if you like Lemony Snicket books because they are a series of mysteries, a phrase used here to indicate that the story continues in the next book and readers are always trying to figure out what will happen next:

NOTE: All call numbers are for the Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Click on the title to see if the book is available or checked out. Click on the series to find more books like the first.
Abbot, Tony The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet
(Secrets of Droon Series)

It all starts when three friends, Julie, Eric and Neal, find a secret room under the basement stairs and discover that it's a magical doorway to the land of Droon.  However, even in Droon, things are not nearly as terrible as the things that the poor Baudelaire orphans encounter.
Buckey, Sarah The Smuggler's Treasure 
(History Mysteries Series)

Creators of the American Girl series bring you this series of mysteries based on historical events and time periods. Fortunately, history has many cheerful events.
1999 J BUCKE
Byars, Betsy The Dark Stairs: a Herculeah Jones Mystery  
(Herculeah Jones Mystery Series)

Herculeah Jones and her friend Meat are as good as Holmes and Watson while they follow in the footsteps of Herculeah's detective father and private-eye mom.  They get into some trouble, but so far, Herculeah's parents are still alive and well.
1994 J BYARS
DiTerlizzi, Tony The Field Guide 
(Spiderwick Chronicles Series)

Following their parents' divorce, an older sister and two brothers move with their mother to a home that holds a lot of secrets. The children try to figure it all out without stressing their mom.
2003 J DITER
Roy, Ron Absent Author  
(A to Z Mystery Series)

Three friends, Dink, Josh and Ruth Rose, work together to solve mysteries. Like the Series of Unfortunate Events, this series is getting close to the end.
1997 J ROY
Skurzynski, Gloria Cliff Hanger  
(National Parks Mystery Series)

Here's a quote from the book: "Moving one silent step at a time, the cougar crept forward toward Lucky's defenseless back." Sounds unfortunate, right? The Landon family, including foster kids, visit different parks in each book and they always manage to find a series of unfortunate events.
1999 J SKURZ
Warner, Gertrude The Boxcar Children 
(Boxcar Children Mysteries)

Four adventurous orphans live on their own in a red boxcar, and one is named Violet. There are many more than 13 books in this series for young readers. Ask a librarian to help you find the cookbook!
1952 J WARNE

Try these books if you like Lemony Snicket books because orphans or kids existing without much help from adults are the protagonists, a word used by English teachers to refer to the main characters in a book or drama:

NOTE: All call numbers are for the Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Click on the title to see if the book is available or checked out.
Ardagh, Philip A House Called Awful End
Eddie Dickens, the protagonist in this and two more books of the Eddie Dickens Trilogy, is not an orphan, but his parents catch a disease which turns them yellow and crinkly around the edges. So Eddie goes to live at St. Horrid's Home for Grateful Orphans. There are many unfortunate events and many explanations of meanings of words and phrases.
2000 J ARDAG
Avi Crispin: the Cross of Lead
Like the Baudelaires, 13-year-old Crispin is falsely accused of theft and murder. But in this Newbery award-winning tale of the bleak middle ages, the child finds an adult he can trust.
2002 J AVI
Cushman, Karen Rodzina
Rodzina's parents die and she experiences one unfortunate event after another, including a hard ride west on the orphan train.
2003 J CUSHM
DiCamillo, Kate Because of Winn Dixie
Unfortunately, Opal Buloni has no mom, she moves to a new hometown, and her dog is ugly. But Opal has a dad and she finds much more happiness with her eccentric friends than Violet, Klaus and Sunny find with theirs.
2000 J DICAM
McKay, Hilary Saffy's Angel
Saffron has more in common with Violet than being named after a color. They're both strong and independent thinkers, but there's something else. Unfortunately, you'll have to read the book to find out.
2002 J MCKAY
Nixon, Joan Lowery Lucy's Wish
(Orphan Train Series)
Lucy is the orphan in this first book of the Orphan Train Children Series. Most of the stories are sweet, a word which used here means that you will have to read the entire series to find enough unfortunate events to make one Lemony Snicket story. But there's a glossary in each book and pictures of real orphans who don't look too happy.
1998 J NIXON
Pullman, Philip Spring-Heeled Jack
This is a tale of three orphans, lots of adventure and the pictures are great. However, in the end, . . . whoops, I almost told you the end! That would have been unfortunate!
2002 J PULLM
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Harry is an orphan, in case you haven't heard. He lives with the Dursley's, who are despicable and unloving relatives who make him sleep under the stairs. Quite unfortunate! Then he goes to Hogwarts where there are more unfortunate events, but also more friends and magic.
1998 J ROWLI
Sachar, Louis Holes
Stanley Yelnats is not an orphan, but he is cursed. Like the Baudelaires, he and his friends contrive many plans to overcome great difficulty caused by the adults in the story.
1998 J SACHR

Try these books if you like Lemony Snicket books because they are LOL funny, An abbreviation used excessively by those who communicate electronically, used here to mean that you can't stop laughing out loud when you read them:

NOTE: All call numbers are for the Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Click on the title to see if the book is available or checked out.
Cazet, Denys Minnie & Moo and the Seven Wonders of the World
If Aunt Josephine was a cow named Minnie and the Baudelaire orphans were cows named Moo, and Mr. Poe was a farmer, they would be having adventures like you will find in this book. Second and third grade readers will laugh their heads off, a phrase which means they will chuckle often while they read, not that their heads will roll on the floor.
2003 J CAZET
Dahl, Roald Matilda
Matilda is brilliant and her parents are not. In fact, her parents are cruel and creepy, much like Count Olaf and friends. This book is filled with sardonic humor, meaning that it is written with sarcastic and mocking words that produce hysterical convulsions.
1988 J DAHL
Laster, Eric The Adventures of Erasmus Twiddle, Grmkville's Famous & Talented Not-Detective
Erasmus has been solving mysteries since he was a baby and he'll make you laugh because the mysteries involve rubber chicken factories, baboons, explosions, and finger puppets.
2001 J LASTE
Pilkey, Dav The Adventures of Captain Underpants, An Epic Novel 
(Captain Underpants Series)

This series is much sillier than Lemony Snicket's books and it's full of superpowers (which the Baudelaires clearly do not have) and gross-out stuff (which the Baudelaires are much too polite to express). But kids often laugh out loud when they get close to the bookshelf and see the covers.
1997 J PILKE
Sachar, Louis Sideways Stories from Wayside School 
(Wayside School Series)

Wayside School is no Austere Academy but the author knows how to make kids laugh. You'll find children being turned into apples (teachers love apples), dead rats wearing raincoats and little girls who try to sell their toes.
1985 J SACHA
Willis, Jeanne Tadpole's Promise
When a caterpillar meets her perfect love, a tadpole, she begs him never to change, but their relationship is doomed.

Supplements, a word used here to point out books and other items to complete your reading experience, or to make it larger and better (Klaus Baudelaire would enjoy this list):

NOTE: All call numbers are for the Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Click on the title to see if the book is available or checked out. If it is checked out, look where it should be on the shelf and read another with the same call number.
Wilson, Patrick Using Ropes and Knots
In The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the First)
Violet Baudelaire found herself in the unfortunate circumstance of trying to rescue her baby sister Sunny from a perilous perch. Violet was able to invent a grappling hook and attach it to a rope with the proper knot. It will be unfortunate if you do not read this book and you find yourself trying to rescue your baby sister.
2003 J 356.16 WILSO
Lassieur, Allison Peru
In The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the Second) Klaus Baudelaire read a similar book at his Uncle Montgomery Montgomery's request. If in life's circumstances, you narrowly escape Count Olaf's wicked grasp and then travel to Peru to meet an uncle you've never before seen, you too will be glad that you read this book. In fact, you should spend your free time reading a book about every country in South America, just in case!
2004 J 918.5 LASSI
Katzen, Mollie Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes
In The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the Third)
the Baudelaire orphans were sent to live with their cousin's sister-in-law, Aunt Josephine. She was afraid of everything, including the stove. The children were forced to eat cold cucumber soup and more cold cucumber soup. Don't let this happen to you! Read this book and memorize the recipes that do not contain a picture of a stove. You will have many recipes to recommend as alternatives to cold cucumber soup when you are sent to live with a paranoid grammarian.
1994 J 641.5 KATZE
Cobb, Vicki Open Your Eyes, Discover Your Sense of Sight
In The Miserable Mill (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the Fourth) Klaus Baudelaire experienced an unfortunate event after visiting the Paltryville eye doctor. Read this book so that you will understand what happens at a proper eye exam and your eye doctor will not be able to hypnotize you.
2002 J 612.84 COBB
Macaulay, David The New Way Things Work
In The Austere Academy (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the Fifth) Sunny Baudelaire, an infant who would rather be biting things than stapling things, worked as a secretary at the Prufrock Preparatory School. When she was forced to make her own staples to do her job, she needed help. Read this book quickly and memorize the pictures so that you will be able to help babies do good jobs when they are forced to work as secretaries. Staplers are on page 78.
1998 J 600 MACAU
Franck, Irene M. Dress Through the Ages
In The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the Sixth) the poor Baudelaire children were sent to live with their new guardians, Jerome and Esme Gigi Geniveve Squalor. Esme was not only the city's sixth most important financial advisor, but an expert on what was in and what was out. The children were not experts and were always guessing. If you read these 16 volumes, you will know what is in and what is out for everyone from Astronauts and Ballerinas to traditional Guatemalans.
2001 J 391 FRANC
Rutten, Joshua Erosion
In The Vile Village (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the Seventh) Violet Baudelaire was able to use the scientific concept of erosion to free herself and her siblings from a nasty accommodation. You must check out this book and read it completely. Be prepared! If you are a child being raised by a village, you may have to break out of prison.
1999 J 551.302 RUTTE
Raatma, Lucia Crawl Low Under Smoke
In The Hostile Hospital (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the Eighth) the Baudelaire children were trapped inside the burning Heimlich Hospital. Every child has an obligation to read books like this about fire safety. It explains how to leave a building safely during a fire, although it doesn't explain how to invent a bungee cord from materials one might find in a burning hospital.
1999 J 628.9 RAATM
Dispezio, Michael A. Map Mania: Discovering Where You Are and Getting to Where You Aren't
In The Carnivorous Carnival (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the Ninth) Beverly, Elliot and Chabo, the Wolf Baby, investigated Madame Lulu's fortune telling tent and found a map. Read this book, please, so that, please, you will know how to read maps, please.
2002 J 912 DISPE
White, Linda Sleeping In A Sack: Camping Activities for Kids
In The Slippery Slope (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the Tenth) Sunny was separated from her sister and brother and forced to cook outdoor breakfasts for Count Olaf and his henchmen. Violet and Klaus were climbing treacherous snow-covered Mortmain Mountains finding nobody but Snow Scouts. They needed this book. You have it right here on your library shelf. The correct thing to do is obvious, a word which here means clearly, you should read the book.
1998 J 796.54 WHITE
Seuling, Barbara Drip! Drop!: How Water Gets to Your Tap
In The Grim Grotto (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the Eleventh) the Baudelaire Orphans find themselves traveling in a rattletrap submarine to the Gorgonian Grotto. If you first read this book about precipitation, evaporation and condensation, you can skip the long, boring sections Lemony Snicket writes about the water cycle. Remember: He who hesitates is lost!
2000 J 628.1 SEULI
Herrera, Joaquin Ramon Scary: A Book of Horrible Things for Kids
Read this book so that you are prepared for all of the horrible things that you could run into -- like cockroaches, Argiope banana spiders, cannibal lobsters and gangrene.
2005 J031.02 HERRE
Haugen, Hayley Mitchell Daniel Handler: The Real Lemony Snicket
It has come to our attention that the author, Lemony Snicket, and his representative, Daniel Handler, are thought by some people to be the same person. That theory has caused books like this to be written, published and sold to libraries. Please read and decide for yourself.


If you need help finding these or other Library materials, please check with anyone in Children's Services. We look forward to seeing you at the Library!

If you are reading this and you are Lemony Snicket: With all due respect, we would like to request that you send us your grandmother's recipe for lemon cookies so that we may offer some to Klaus Baudelaire or other children who were deprived of the pleasure of enjoying one during tea at V.F.D. headquarters. If you are Count Olaf or his employees, please do not contact us.

Comments and suggestions can be sent to Mary R. Voors, Manager, Children's Services at

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