I am currently reading the children's book series A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket.
The first three books make up the story of the film Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events which has hooked me on these books.
The story revolves around Violet, Klaus and Sunny, three children whose parents die and are taken in by their relatives. This in itself would lead to a series of unfortunate events, but this is toppled by a villain, Count Olaf who has made it his mission to get the fortune of the orphans. To achieve his plan he is not afraid to resort to murder and other heinous crimes, but the children of course defeat his evil ploy at the end of each book, just to be escorted to their next foster home where Count Olaf always strikes again.
I have so far read the first two books of the series and just started reading the 3rd of the six I have as a box set. I have to say, the quality of the books in itself is remarkable, and I haven't seen attention like this before: these hardcover books have pages cut individually, on the first page of the book there is an ex libris page with blank space for the kid's name.
Being quite older than the intended audience I find these books as light and entertaining reads. The book is apparently written in a style to convey some basic etiquette to the readers, and has many explanation of the harder words used (like "brummagem"), but not being a native I find these quite useful.
Deaths feature as main plot elements in the books, and the overall tone of the books is quite gloomy, so one might think they are not appropriate for children, but in fact its to the contrary. I believe that after reading some of the later Harry Potter books, there's nothing new in these elements, and on the other hand this series offer advice and ways for children to deal with the issues raised, so I would certainly read them to my kids.