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The Grim Grotto (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 11) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 21, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It's tough when the things that stand between you and your desired sugar bowl are a host of deadly mushrooms and an uncomfortable diving suit. The unlucky Baudelaire orphans find themselves in deep (once again) in this eleventh book in Lemony Snicket's odd-and-full-of-woe-but-quite-funny Series of Unfortunate Events. In The Grim Grotto, the siblings find themselves headed down Stricken Stream on a broken toboggan when they are spotted by the submarine Queequeg, carrying Captain Widdershins, his somewhat volatile stepdaughter Fiona, and optimistic Phil from Lucky Smells Lumbermill. The adventures that follow as the crew tries to get to the aforementioned sugar bowl before Count Olaf are so horrible that the narrator inserts factual information about the water cycle so that readers will get bored and stop reading the book. It doesn't work. As per usual, readers will want to soak up every awf! ul detail and follow the Baudelaires all the way back to the place we first met them--Briny Beach. (Ages 9 and older) --Karin Snelson

From Booklist

Gr. 4-6. With the movie poised for release and a wealth of promotional materials (including editions of the books with disappointing photos on the covers) already available, it wouldn't do to ignore the latest book in A Series of Unfortunate Events. Snicket reconnects with the Baudelaire orphans precisely where he left them, tobogganing down the Stricken Stream, and then sends them down under the waves in a submarine escapade, during which, of course, they encounter the evil Orlof and his cronies. Snicket, who hasn't lost his touch for peculiar, imaginative setups, injects plenty of wry asides and witty vocabulary enrichment. His villains remain deliciously villainous, and the long-suffering Baudelaires still accept struggle without complaint. This time, though, Snicket adds a few characters who don't quite fit the molds, and this is the first book to hint that the unfortunate events that have dogged the kids through 10 previous adventures may be coming to an end. Book the Twelfth will surely provide more clues. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1120L (What's this?)
  • Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events (Book 11)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (September 21, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064410145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064410144
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (333 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lemony Snicket claims he was nowhere near the scene of the crime. He is the author of several other unpleasant stories, including those in the bestselling A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Lump of Coal.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mintos "The College Years" on October 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"Book the Eleventh" in "A Series of Unfortunate Events" by Lemony Snicket is all wet and dripping with further dismal tales of the lives of the Baudelaire orphans. Of course, in the usual Lemony Snicket fashion, the sad tales are told in such a funny way that the book becomes hilarious instead of being depressing like he claims it is supposed to be. "Grim Grotto" is the longest book in the series, but if readers can get past the dreary descriptions of the water cycle - meant to lull them into a catatonic state so they won't continue reading the depressing tale - they will be greatly rewarded.

The story picks up with Violet, Sunny, and Klaus rushing down the Stricken Stream in a toboggan, just where we left them at the end of Book the Tenth. But the orphans escape peril for the moment when they are saved by a submarine called the Queequeg. "The submarine Q with its crew of two," is manned by Captain Widdershins, a colorful character who ends all of his sentences with a resounding "Aye," and his stepdaughter, Fiona, a bright young teenager with an over-zealous interest in fungus.

This new installment of the unfortunate events of the Baudelaire children includes a number of underwater adventures including a run-in with that ever-present villain, Captain Olaf, and his band of miscreants, a trip to an underwater cave, a budding romance, and the reemergence of characters that were long gone. It's an exciting tale that will definitely attract the loyal followers of the series. However, Snicket (who is really writer Daniel Handler) also includes flashbacks that will help those readers who have not been so faithful in keeping up with every volume.

The "Grim Grotto" is definitely gratifying to those who have been waiting to know what happens next in the Baudelaire's.
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43 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Appleseed VINE VOICE on September 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
There's good and bad here. First the bad.

Captain Widdershins bore a striking resemblance to Willy Wonka in his style of speech and general flakiness. Whereas Wonka was entertaining, however, Widdershins was the most annoying character yet in this entire series. An example of his style of speech: "Aye! The Submarine Q and Its Crew of Two is not in the best of shape, I'm afraid! Aye! We've been attacked by villains and leeches, by sharks and realtors, by pirates and girlfriends, by torpedoes and angry salmon! Aye! ... Everything from the radar mechanisms to my alarm clock is malfunctioning! Aye! That's why I'm glad you're here, Violet Baudelaire!" Ever sentence he speaks ends in an exclamation point, which makes for exhausting reading, and the four "Aye's" in this particular example were just too much. This is typical of his speech throughout his entire presence in the book. After the Baudelaire's left Widdershins, I thought the tedium of lunatic prose had ended.

I was wrong. First, his stepdaughter assumed his manner of speech, just as she assumed captainship of the submarine. And then there was Olaf. Always Olaf.

I'm of the opinion that Count Olaf found his way into a mushroom patch much sooner than the Baudelaires, for nothing else can explain his complete change of character. To be certain, he still has schemes, plans, and matches to burn things with, but he has now been given the world's most annoying laugh, and his use of it in every sentence of dialogue is nonsensical. Count Olaf is no longer the fearsome adversary he has been for the past ten books. He has transcended the stark originality of his evil nature and is now banal and juvenile. I am incredibly disappointed in this change of character, not to mention bewildered.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Herman HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The Baudelaire orphans continue their miserable adventures in the newest book in A Series of Unfortunate Events. When the story begins, they find themselves trapped on a floating toboggan in the middle of the Stricken Stream. Eventually, they are washed downstream to the sea, where they encounter a submarine, the Queequeg, and its crew: Captain Widdershins, who is extremely fond of saying the word "aye"; his stepdaughter Fiona, who loves to read about mushrooms; and Phil, the cook, who they met long ago during their time at the Lucky Smells Lumbermill. Captain Widdershins is searching for the lost sugar bowl, determined that it will not fall into the hands of Count Olaf and his evil associates, and so Baudelaires and their new friends head off to the Gorgonian Grotto, where even more misfortune awaits them. Fans of the series will not want to miss this latest addition. It's just as miserable, hilarious, and wonderful as the previous books in the series. I cannot wait until the next book in the series is released.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kicking back in New England on October 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I highly recommend this book to readers of the previous ten books! While this book is longer than the others (and has some slow areas), the story is full of surprises - interesting locations, dreadful happenings, etc.

Count Olaf and his evil minions are still after the Baudelaire children, but Olaf has definitely changed. He doesn't seem nearly as evil as he was in past and he now has the most awful laugh which just about drove me crazy (perhaps this was intended???). There are also changes in the Baudelaires - the children are growing up. Sunny is no longer a baby and has become a very interesting character. The older sibs have more issues to face, including conflicts with each other. We receive more clues about VFD and characters from previous books show up - and not everyone is quite as they have appeared in past.

I found more to laugh about in this book and the ending is probably the best so far. Don't get me wrong - there are still so many miserable, horrible, mysterious things - we will have to read the next two books to (hopefully) get all our questions answered. I, for one, can't wait!

A note to those who haven't already read books 1 - 10. If possible, try to read all the books in order prior to reading this book. Each book builds on the previous one and so many references are made to past books, you won't understand the story very well - heck, it is hard enough for those who have read them in order to follow, because there is so much time in between books!

Also, this is not a "happy ending" series of books. While I think they are fantastic and my son loves them, I urge parents to read the books first before deciding if they are appropriate for their younger readers.
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