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*The Miserable Mill (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 4)* 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 Ersatz Elevator (Book 6)

The Austere Academy (Book 5)

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 Miserable Mill (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 4)
by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Brett Helquist
Ages 9-12 208 pages HarperCollins April 2000 Hardcover    

The Baudelaire orphans - inventive Violet, studious Klaus, and sharp-toothed baby Sunny - have an appalling knack for landing in untenable situations, but surely their stint in The Miserable Mill has got to be the most, well, miserable so far.

The desolate and chewing gum-filled town of Paltryville, dominated by forbidding Lucky Smells Lumbermill, is the latest new "home" that Mr. Poe, the executor of the late Baudelaire parents' estate, has found for the luckless children. Even more foreboding than the mill, though is the building at the opposite end of the street: a looming structure built and painted to resemble a giant eye. Once more, Count Olaf's menacing presence is making itself felt.

Forced to work and live at the mill, the Baudelaires quickly become as disconsolate as they've ever been. But when Klaus' glasses are broken and he returns from the optometrist (whose office is, of course, in the eye-shaped building) dazed and strange, their problems mount. Worse, the befogged Klaus is at the controls of the stamping machine when another mill worker's leg is - er, stamped.

Something is afoot, and that foot is attached to an ankle with an eye tattooed upon it, regardless of the ankle and the leg it is attached to being clad in shapely black stockings, and regardless still of the person attached to that leg masquerading as a receptionist named Shirley. But how can the Baudelaire's escape Count Olaf's greedy clutches this time, when hypnosis has stolen Klaus' wits?

A bonus to this fourth installment in Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events" is further intimation of the story behind the determined (and himself somewhat creepy) narrator's beloved, departed Beatrice. The Baudelaires will undoubtedly triumph once more, but constant readers know that what befalls them next is likely to be even more sinister and, thankfully, delightful. This is an addictive series in which, for readers if not the Baudelaire orphans, there can never be too much of a bad thing.

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

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