Hold on to those backpacks! Your students are in for the ride
of their lives!
In this ninth
book in A Series of Unfortunate Events, the three Baudelaire children
arrive at The Caligari Carnival, hiding in the trunk of Count Olaf's
car. Fearing discovery, they disguise themselves as freaks (Violet
and Klaus as a two-headed person and Sunny as Chabo the Wolf Baby)
in order to get work at the carnival.
the new freaks will be excellent attractions, Madame Lulu, a fortune-teller
(actually, Olivia, in disguise), hires the children for the House
of Freaks. Count Olaf, convinced that the freaks are actually the
Baudelaire sibs, concocts a plan to throw at least one of them into
a pit of starving lions. In the commotion created by the excited
crowd, Madame Lulu/Olivia and a bald man are thrown into the pit
instead, finding themselves in the belly of at least one beast.
En route to the Mortmain Mountains, Violet and Kraus leave the carnival
grounds in a caravan attached to Count Olaf's automobile, while
poor Sunny is trapped in the front seat of the car with the villainous
Set the Stage
Show students the cover of the book and use the picture of the lions
to talk about the meaning of carnivorous (meat-eater).
Talk, too, about
events and shows that happened at carnivals of the past ("freak"
shows) and those that may occur at carnivals of today (rides, contests,
"fortune telling"). Let students who have been to a carnival
describe one thing they saw there.
1 aloud to the class. Ask students to tell about some of the troubles
the Baudelaire children have as the chapter ends.
mechanical device were the Baudelaire children planning to use to
escape from the carnival grounds?
How did they actually leave?
Which questions that the Baudelaire siblings had about their
family were never answered in the story?
Do you agree or disagree with Madame Lulu's philosophy, "Give
people what they want"? Explain your answer.
Students will build their reading vocabularies with this fun word
and Copy the Classroom Activity Now (PDF)
Author!: Find out more about author Lemony
Snicket in the Authors & Books section of this site.
Stuff Our Pockets": Do students have a favorite passage
or dialogue from the story? Have them read aloud the description
or act out an amusing exchange between two characters.
- Read All
About It!: Write an article for The Daily Punctilio
that captures the most exciting (or least exciting) event in the
- This Way,
Please!: Ask students to make a map of the carnival grounds,
showing the entrance, the freak's caravan, the pit, and other
by Dr. Susan Shafer
Dr. Susan Shafer is a former elementary school teacher with more
than twenty years of classroom experience and a doctorate in education
from Teachers College, Columbia University. While teaching she received
special recognition for her innovative, theme-based teaching methods.
The author of two books for children and numerous articles for adults,
Susan is presently a freelance writer, editor, and educational consultant.