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Time for Kids

Lemony Snicket is rumored actually to be San Francisco writer Daniel Handler.

He Tells Terrible Tales
Meet mysterious author Lemony Snicket

Warning labels are not normally found on the covers of books, but there's nothing normal about the books of Lemony Snicket. "If you have just picked up this book, then it's not too late to put it back down," warns a note on the back of The Ersatz Elevator, the sixth and latest in Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. "There is nothing to be found in these pages but misery, despair and discomfort."

Despite such warnings, kids keep snapping up Snicket's tragic tales. Two now appear on the New York Times' list of Top 10 best-selling children's books (behind the four Harry Potter volumes). Book 7, The Vile Village, is due out next month. The series chronicles the ups and downs (well, really just the downs) of the Baudelaire orphans: Violet, a 14-year-old inventor; Klaus, who's 12 and seems to have read every book in the library; and Sunny, a baby with four very sharp teeth. The three are pursued by their dreadful, distant (but not distant enough) cousin Count Olaf, who is after their fortune. TFK caught up with the secretive author by phone.

Q Why do you feel compelled to tell the Baudelaires' story?

A I feel compelled simply because their story has never been told correctly. I made a solemn vow to fill that void or die trying.

Q How many books will there be?

A Evidence suggests that their entire story will be told in 13 volumes. It does make for a nice, round number.

Q Are your stories appropriate for kids, like our readers ?

A I would assume that the only reason you would interview me is to make sure that children stay as far away from these books as possible. I hope my biographies will serve the same purpose as the phone book: you are glad theinformation is available, but you don't want to read every word.

Q Do you have any words of advice for TFK readers?

A My advice: do not read any books by Lemony Snicket, do not walk into open manholes and always look both ways when you cross the street.

April 27, 2001 Vol.6 No.25