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*The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 6)* by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Brett Helquist - tweens/young readers book review

Also by Lemony Snicket:

The Penultimate Peril (Book 12)

The Vile Village (Book 7)

The Austere Academy (Book 5)

The Miserable Mill (Book 4)

The Wide Window (Book 3)

The Reptile Room (Book 2)

The Bad Beginning (Book 1)

Also by illustrated by Brett Helquist:

The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic
The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 6)
by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Brett Helquist
Ages 9-12 272 pages HarperCollins February 2001 Hardcover    

Jerome and Esme Squalor's penthouse apartment at 667 Dark Avenue, mere blocks from the charred remains of the mansion the Baudelaire orphans once called home, is without question the most ostentatiously trendy of the places the children have stayed since their parents untimely fiery deaths.

But trendy doesn't necessarily mean comfortable. Elevators have been declared "out" by the faddish circles the Squalors travel in, and sixty-six flights of stairs span the height of their building. The apartment may boast seventy-one bedrooms, but it holds very little soul, being decorated in whatever the style of the moment might be. Indeed, Esme would not have welcomed (ahem) Violet, Klaus and Sunny into her home were it not for the fact that orphans are currently "in".

Worried about the the Quagmire triplets Duncan and Isadore, who were kidnapped by the villainous Count Olaf from the blighted Prufrock Preparatory School, the Baudelaires hope to unravel the secret of "V.F.D.", the scrap of a clue that was the last word they heard from Duncan Quagmire. Before they can get anywhere at all in their investigation, Count Olaf rears his single eyebrow once more, disguised as the foreign "in" auctioneer and language mangler, Gunther.

The children come within a hairsbreadth of rescuing Duncan and Isadore, but their hopes are dashed at the revelation that one of their new guardians is in cahoots with Olaf. Apparently he is willing to share at least some of the fortune he means to wrest from the Baudelaires.

The Ersatz Elevator contains what is probably the most frightening episode in the Series thus far, involving (of course) an elevator - or at least an elevator shaft. To be fair, though, maudlin but faithful narrator Lemony Snicket never promised his readers a rose garden. His advice to put the book down before reading it, as with every installment in A Series of Unfortunate Events, fills the book's backside. If you've come this far, you certainly can't say that you haven't been warned - as though a warning could prevent you from continuing to travel down the deliciously unhappy path fate has laid for the Baudelaire orphans.

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  Sharon Schulz-Elsing/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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