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Lemony Snicket's 'handsome' rep delights school students

Author Daniel Handler makes an appearance at OES


by: TIMES PHOTO:JAIME VALDEZ - Oregon Episcopal School students were entertained by Daniel Handler, who writes under the pen name of Lemony Snicket.From the moment that Oregon Episcopal School Librarian Lara Ingham announced the arrival of author Lemony Snicket on Friday, it was evident students were in for a big surprise — beginning with the fact the author would not be there.

Instead, a dapper gentleman (who in fact was novelist Daniel Handler, who writes under the pen name of Lemony Snicket), appeared at the lectern in St. John the Baptist Chapel, perplexed, bemused and a little bit agitated.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I don’t know who that woman was or why she would tell you such a terrible lie.”

The students roared with laughter, immediately getting the inside joke — knowing it made perfect sense for the ultra-elusive Snicket to be a no-show.

“I know you were told Lemony Snicket was going to be here, but he isn’t,” said Handler, pretending to be no more than a “handsome” gentleman sent on Snicket’s behalf. His statement prompted more uproarious laughter from the students.

“I don’t think it’s funny,” Handler deadpanned.

For the uninitiated, Lemony Snicket is the celebrated author and narrator of the wildly popular series “A Series of Unfortunate Events” and a slew of other children’s titles, including his most recent book, “Who Could That Be at This Hour.”

Handler then pulled out a letter he said was from Snicket, teasing the students that he was going to open it slowly to increase suspense, all the while referring to the chapel as a synagogue.

From there, he proceeded to show 1950s-circa slides that explained what Snicket would have talked about if he had been there. He then walked frenetically around the room, asking students questions, mugging with teachers and staying in character.

“You go to school, or you work at a factory?” he asked a student.

He then called up four students to read a secret message, asking the first two their names — Liv and Ian. Pointing out it was too complicated to learn everyone’s names, he eventually referred to all four as “Liv.” But before he was done, he made sure all had read a secret message, asking the youngest student to repeat a portion of the secret message “bossily,” in the type of voice parents might use:

“Clean your room!”

“Brush your teeth!”

“Get me another bottle of whisky!”by: TIMES PHOTO:JAIME VALDEZ - Oregon Episcopal School students were entertained by Daniel Handler, who stopped by the school Friday to talk about his new book.

Handler then plucked Lemony Snicket’s “Who Could That Be at This Hour” from a student in the audience with a threat to read all of it out loud. Moving quickly around the room, he used a few props, placing a fake flower in one woman’s hair and drumming her fingers against a pew to make a point.

“Now, it’s probably at this time, if Mr. Snicket was here, he’d excuse himself and run screaming from this room,” Handler relayed to his young audience.

And a moment later, that’s exactly what he did, fleeing the chapel and screaming at the top of his lungs.

Afterward, OES Lower School Librarian Ingham played along, telling students, “Although Lemony Snicket couldn’t join us, let’s give that gentleman a huge round of applause.”

They did, and Handler greeted many of them outside after his appearance telling each, “Thank you for leaving.”

Still, he seemed to be a real hit among his young crowd of admirers.

“I thought he was really funny,” said Emily Ackerman, an OES fifth-grader. “I liked the part where he had the list... of what Lemony Snicket was going to do. And I liked how he came up and talked with you.”

Another fifth-grader, Annie Watson, said she enjoyed the presentation as well.

“I think it was really funny how he pretended he wasn’t Lemony Snicket,” she said. “He was really loud.”

Ingham, who along with OES library assistant Heidi Hackenjos, took up an offer from Powell’s Books to host the author at the school, said she and the students were extremely excited to have “Snicket” on campus, having prepared by showing videos and reviewing the books the famed author has penned.

“I think the kids had a ball,” said Ingham. “It was incredible, and it was entertaining.”

Asked what he thought of the 2004 film “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” starring Jim Carrey, Snicket broke out of his character for a moment as author Handler replied that what he thought was that he wrote nine drafts of the screenplay before he was fired by Paramount Pictures.

“Seriously?”

“Seriously,” he replied

Asked if Mr. Snicket would in fact show up for the Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing event planned for that same evening, Handler replied that the shy author has been scheduled for 5,000 appearances over the years and has yet to show up for one of them. He added, however, that he admired “the optimism

of the people of Beaverton” in

anticipating Lemony Snicket would indeed show up.by: TIMES PHOTO:JAIME VALDEZ - Instead of signing autographs from Oregon Episcopal School students, Daniel Handler, who writes as Lemony Snicket, said, 'Thanks for leaving.'



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