Reviews provided by Syndetics
School Library Journal Review
Gr 4-7-In the fourth (HarperCollins, 2000) delightfully doleful tale of the Baudelaire orphans and their wicked antagonist, Count Olaf, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are sent to live with the owner of the Lucky Smells Sawmill and discover that they are to labor in the mill under the most inhuman of conditions. Not only are they given only five minutes for lunch, but lunch is just a piece of gum! Pay consists of coupons ("buy two get one free") the workers can't use. When Klaus's eyeglasses are broken, he is sent to an eye doctor whose receptionist proves to be Count Olaf in disguise. Soon the children realize that Count Olaf and the eye doctor are scheming to get the children's fortune. All the elements of silent movie serials are here: cliff hanging chapter endings, villainous adults, and even a climactic scene in which the one person who has tried to help the orphans is tied to a log and pushed toward a buzzing saw. Fortunately, at the last moment the eye doctor falls into the blade instead. Of course, the orphans escape Olaf''s clutches once again, but he eludes capture and we know it will not be long before the orphans will fall victim to his schemes again. The reader is purported to be Lemony Snicket, and he uses just the right dismal tone to relate these wretched happenings. This audiobook is sure to fly off the shelf in libraries where the Snicket series is popular (is there any library where it is not?), and most school and public librarians will want to add it to their collections.-Louise L. Sherman, formerly Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr. 4^-6. The fourth in Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events opens with the Baudelaire orphans aboard a train bound for Paltryville, where they will meet their new guardian, the owner of the Lucky Smells Lumbermill. Even children who have not read the earlier books will soon learn that the Baudelaire children are heirs to a large fortune, that their evil nemesis Count Olaf plots against them in hopes of stealing their fortune, and that the children must depend upon each other, since the banker who (mis)manages their affairs has placed them in one wretched, disastrous situation after another. Now they find themselves working in the lumbermill (yes, even baby Sunny), and given nothing for breakfast, chewing gum for lunch, and (shudder) casserole for dinner. The story is deliciously mock-Victorian and self-mockingly melodramatic. Helquist's deft pencil drawings and the author's many asides to the reader underscore the droll humor, which many children will relish. Another plum for the orphans' fans. --Carolyn Phelan
Horn Book Review
In this longer-than-usual installment, Violet and Klaus Baudelaire travel to the Mortmain Mountains in hopes of finding their little sister Sunny, who has been kidnapped by the evil Count Olaf. The Baudelaires meet up with an old friend, Count Olaf is betrayed by two members of his entourage, and the telling of this intentionally over-the-top story is as arch (and one-note) as ever. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.