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The Carnivorous Carnival
Carnivorous Carnival.PNG
Author Lemony Snicket (pen name of Daniel Handler)
Illustrator Brett Helquist
Cover artist Brett Helquist
Country United States
Language English
Series A Series of Unfortunate Events
Genre Gothic fiction
Absurdist fiction
Publisher HarperCollins
Publication date
October 28, 2002
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
Pages 286
ISBN 0-06-441012-9 (first edition, hardback)
OCLC 49952611
Fic 21
LC Class PZ7.S6795 Car 2002
Preceded by The Hostile Hospital 
Followed by The Slippery Slope 

The Carnivorous Carnival is the ninth novel in the children's novel series A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket.

Plot summary

Following the events of The Hostile Hospital, Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire arrive at Caligari Carnival in the trunk of Count Olaf and his theatre troupe's car, unknown to them. Olaf and his associates speak of seeking Madame Lulu, a mysterious fortune-teller and owner of Caligari Carnival, for answers of the whereabouts of the Snicket files, which apparently contains crucial information on V.F.D. As the troupe discuss with Lulu, the Baudelaires escape the trunk and disguise themselves as freak volunteers for the Carnival's freak show, Violet and Klaus as a two-headed humanoid 'Beverly' and 'Elliot', and Sunny as 'Chabo the Wolf Baby', a supposed half-wolf.

After being accepted by Lulu, they meet three other freaks in the 'Freak Caravan' - Hugo, a hunchback - Kevin, who is ambidextrous - and Colette, a contortionist. The Baudelaires are oblivious to the reason of their self-consciousness on their rare abilities. Every day they are forced to perform and be ridiculed in front of a small audience.

The next day, Count Olaf announces that a freak will be chosen to be fed to a pack of abused lions, in order to increase the popularity of the carnival. Olaf tells Esmé Squalor that Madame Lulu has predicted the whereabouts of the remaining Baudelaire parent to be in a V.F.D headquarters located in the Mortmain Mountains. Violet, Klaus and Sunny explore Lulu's tent, where she supposedly predicts answers using a glass ball - however, they discover that she tricked Olaf into thinking so by using a machine to create the effects, and either guesses the answer or finds the answers in her secret archival library. Madame Lulu enters, and after hollering at the Baudelaires for trespassing, is shamed into revealing her true identity as Olivia. Olivia explains that she goes by the motto 'Give People What They Want', thus her feeding Olaf information. She reveals to be part of V.F.D, and admits to only be guessing one of their parents to be in Mortmain Mountains after the Baudelaires reveal themselves to her.

After striking a deal with her to bring her with them when they explore Mortmain Mountains, on the condition that she doesn't tell Olaf their true identities, the three return to the Freak Caravan, where Esme Squalor, who is jealous of Madame Lulu, convinces Hugo, Kevin and Colette to feed Madame Lulu to the lions the following day - in exchange, they will be employed as Olaf's associates. Shortly after Violet works on fixing the carnival's roller coaster to use to travel to the Mortmain Mountains, the Baudelaires are forced to participate in the lion show. Count Olaf announces Violet and Klaus (as Beverly and Elliot) to be fed to the lions, they stall the feeding and cause a commotion among the audience allowing them to escape - however, Olaf's bald associate and Olivia fall into the lion pit to their deaths.

After it becomes apparent they can't continue the roller coaster plan, Olaf, (after burning down the majority of the carnival) invites them to join on a quest to the Mortmain Mountains. Believing this to be the only way to arrive there, they agree and ride on a caravan attached to the troupe's car. However, Olaf reveals that Lulu told him that they were the Baudelaires in disguise, and takes Sunny while the newly recruited freaks cut the rope connecting the car and caravan on a steep cliff, leaving the book on a literal cliffhanger.

Rare copies

There are some copies of this book that have a Vile Village version of Count Olaf and the Baudelaires on the inside of the back cover. There are only a handful of these special copies made.


When the Baudelaire examined Lulu's tent and Violet found her ribbon, she thought that Olaf must have kept it in the previous book. This may confuse some readers because she used her ribbon to trick Hal into thinking they were his keys, and he never returned them to her or gave them to Count Olaf.


  • Brazilian Portuguese: "O Espetáculo Carnívoro" (The Carnivorous Show), Cia. das Letras, 2004, ISBN: 85-359-0524-3
  • Finnish: "Tihutöiden tivoli" (The Carnival of Mischiefs), WSOY, 2005, ISBN: 951-0-30214-7
  • Italian: "Il carosello carnivoro", Salani, 2005, ISBN: 978-88-8451-516-2
  • Greek: "Το Σαρκοβόρο Τσίρκο"
  • Japanese: "肉食カーニバル", Soshisha, 2005, ISBN: 4-7942-1413-8
  • Korean: "살벌한 유원지" (Bloody Amusement Park), Munhakdongnae Publishing Co, Ltd., 2009, ISBN: 978-89-546-0968-5
  • Norwegian: Tragedie på tivoli (Tragedy at the Carnival), Tor Edvin Dahl, Cappelen Damm, 2004, ISBN: 9788202228378
  • Russian: "Кровожадный Карнавал" (The Bloodthirsty Carnival), Azbuka, 2004, ISBN: 978-5-352-02212-2
  • French: La Fête Féroce (The Ferocious Festival)
  • Turkish: "Karnaval Ucubeleri" (Carnival Freaks)
  • Polish: "Krwiożerczy karnawał" (The Bloodthirsty Carnival)


The book was adapted into the ninth and tenth episodes of the second season of the television series adaptation produced by Netflix.

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