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The Miserable Mill (A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket, Illustrations by Brett Helquist

HarperCollins, April 2000
Hardcover, 194 pages
Ages 9-Adult
ISBN: 0064407691.

The wealthy and yet hopelessly unlucky Baudelaire orphans (Violet, Klaus, and the infant Sunny), having just escaped the evil Count Olaf in their last adventure (See, The Wide Window) are let down once again by their woefully inadequate guardian, Mr. Poe. Mr. Poe knows that Count Olaf follows the children and tries to steal their fortune, but he insists that the latest home he has found for them will be just fine. It's not, of course. The three plucky orphans are sent to work and live in a horrid lumber mill. And, of course, Count Olaf returns in disguise. The orphans always seem to avoid disaster (and bodily injury) by the skin of their teeth, due to their native intelligence and resourcefulness. But will they ever find a good home?

The Miserable Mill is the fourth book in the hilarious dark comedy series by the pseudononymous Lemony Snicket. We see tempting tidbits of Mr. Snicket's own life throughout the story (his failed romance with the unattainable and mysteriously dead Beatrice is apparently the source of great despair for him). In any event, the author's crisp wit, droll humor combined with Brett Hilquist's marvelous drawings make for a unique and compelling reading experience. Highly Recommended.

--Claire E. White