What to Read After... A Series of Unfortunate Events

Published on: 14 April 2024

The story of the Baudelaire orphans – 13 dark, funny books – is unique, even after more than two decades. If the children you know have read all of the series (and watched the Netflix show), and read Lemony Snicket’s other series All the Wrong Questions, then what else might they enjoy?

Charismatic villains

Count Olaf is famously enthusiastic in trying to outmanoeuvre and kill the orphans. If this dark atmosphere appeals, try Fire Spell by Laura Amy Shiltz, where a sinister puppeteer tricks children into doing his bidding. The Unadoptables by Hannah Tooke features Milou and her friends running from moustachioed baddies and a nasty orphanage matron. While Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy has orphaned twins Maudie and Arthur escaping from the ruthless Eudora Vane. Finally, of course, Mrs Coulter from His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman must be mentioned as an unsettling yet compelling villain.

Resourceful children solving mysteries

The Baudelaire children survive attempt after attempt on their lives. Should this ingenuity appeal, try Wave Riders by Lauren St John, which finds twins Jess and Jude solving the mystery of their guardian’s disappearance. The Swifts by Beth Lincoln (illustrated by Claire Powell) is a murder mystery with witty wordplay and baddies desperate for riches – both very Snicket qualities. Finally, for a more modern, urban take on mystery-solving, try the excellent High-Rise Mystery by Sharna Jackson.

Stories with gothic illustrations

Lemony Snicket’s tale of woe is enhanced by the brilliance of Brett Helquist’s black and white artwork in every chapter. Should your reader enjoy illustrations that add atmosphere, try The Monsters of Rookhaven by Pádraig Kenny, with illustrations by Edward Bettison, which asks what a monster actually is. The modern classic Coraline by Neil Gaiman has amazing illustrations by Dave McKean that bring the ‘Other Mother’ to sinister life. And a recent title, Welcome to Dead Town, Raven McKay by Eibhilis Carcione and illustrated by Ewa Beniak-Haremska, is deeply chilling. Not for the faint hearted!

Lemony Snicket’s recommendations

We managed to track down the elusive Mr Snicket and asked him to suggest some further reading to his fans. He recommends The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder and Sisters of the Lost Marsh by Lucy Strange. Enjoy!

Join in!

Those are some of our ideas – but what about you? Which books bring a similar joy to Lemony Snicket’s work?

Let us know by leaving your comments in the box below or tweeting us @BookTrust using the hashtag #WhatToReadAfter.


Bookbuzz is a reading programme from BookTrust that aims to help schools inspire a love of reading in 11 to 13-year-olds. Participating schools give their students the opportunity to choose their own book to take home and keep from a list of 16 titles.

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