A few years back, my daughter and I read Lemony Snicket’s thirteen volume collection, “A Series of Unfortunate Events, ” detailing the lives of the Baudelaire orphans and the villainous Count Olaf. Do not watch the rather sad adaptation of the first three books. Stick to the novels.
Late last year, Mr. Snicket produced a prequel, Who Could that Be at this Hour? which I bought as a Christmas stocking stuffer. Yet, it was my son who ended up reading it. Almost the first words out of his mouth when he finished were, “Is there another one?” Sadly not yet (although three more are in the offing). At time of writing, I confess, I have not read the book.
Anyway, when I discovered Snicket was coming to the Toronto Reference Library for a reading, I raced to my computer to order tickets, which were free but essential for entrance. As it turned out, the event sold out soon after.
So on a rainy Valentine’s day, the sort of day when a knock at the door or a late-night phone call might well have you asking just that question, the boy and I went downtown to see Mr. Snicket. Alas, it was not to be. Mr. Snicket was unable to attend. Initially, it seemed as if a large block of wood had prevented his attendance, but it was eventually revealed that a vicious and paralyzing bite under the armpit was to blame. Nevertheless, for three-quarters of an hour the audience was entertained by Mr. Snicket’s representative who sang to us, played the accordion for us, revealed secrets to us, and might even, briefly, have danced the Carioca for us.
At the conclusion of the evening, Mr. Snickert’s representative and Seth, who illustrated the book, signed copies. Seth even contributed a sketch to every edition – watching his create a unique illustration was probably the highpoint of the evening for the boy (although he very much enjoyed the Tim Hortons hot chocolate he had after the show).
Usually, I conclude these little columns with a truism about how being a dad allows you to revisit marvellous moments from your childhood, but in some ways they are better because you see that joy in your child. This time…actually, I think I’ll go with that this time as well.