- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 5 and up
- Lexile Measure: 1000L (What's this?)
- Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events (Book 4)
- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (April 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0064407691
- ISBN-13: 978-0064407694
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (753 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Miserable Mill (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 4) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 5, 2000
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"The Baudelaire orphans looked out the grimy window of the train and gazed at the gloomy blackness of the Finite Forest, wondering if their lives would ever get better," begins The Miserable Mill. If you have been introduced to the three Baudelaire orphans in any of Lemony Snicket's previous novels, you know that not only will their lives not get better, they will get much worse. In the fourth installment in the "Series of Unfortunate Events," the sorrowful siblings, having once again narrowly escaped the clutches of the evil Count Olaf, are escorted by the kindly but ineffectual Mr. Poe to their newest "home" at the Lucky Smells Lumbermill. Much to their horror (if not surprise), their dormitory at the mill is crowded and damp, they are forced to work with spinning saw blades, they are fed only one meal a day (not counting the chewing gum they get for lunch), and worst of all, Count Olaf lurks in a dreadful disguise as Shirley the receptionist just down the street. Not even the clever wordplay and ludicrous plot twists could keep this story buoyant--reading about the mean-spirited foreman, the deadly blades, poor Klaus (hypnotized and "reprogrammed"), and the relentless hopelessness of the children's situation only made us feel gloomy. Fans of these wickedly funny, suspenseful adventures won't want to miss out on a single one, but we're hoping the next tales have the delicate balance of delight and disaster we've come to expect from this exciting series. (Ages 9 to 12)
From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7-This fourth book in the series about the Baudelaire orphans works fine as a stand-alone. The "poor little rich kids" lead lives filled with unhappiness, gothic horror, and melodramatic despair. Here, the protagonists are sent to work in a lumber mill in Paltryville, where they are fed only a stick of gum for lunch and are forced to perform backbreaking labor. Their enemy, Count Olaf, is not far from the scene, and will certainly utilize any disguise to get at the siblings' inheritance. Violet, Klaus, and Baby Sunny are responsible for their own fate and, as usual, they take matters in hand. This is for readers who appreciate this particular type of humor; it exaggerates the sour and makes anyone's real life seem sweet in comparison.
Sharon R. Pearce, Geronimo Public School, OK
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
I appreciate that sounds odd, and expensive, but you will probably buy them all anyway...
And why? Because over the next few weeks as you read the books, you'll find certain characters cropping up. You need to think about a) their voices and accents,
b) adding special emphasis to certain characters who re-appear later, and
c) dropping certain vocabulary or factoids into conversation ahead of actually reading the story, which saves time at bed-time and also makes conversations more fun with your children as they realise that you are laying a breadcrumb trail, as it were.
Count Olaf, for example, is described as having a hoarse voice, so practise it in different accents. The hook-handed man re-appears, so give him a distinct accent, and be ready to use it with Fiona in book 11, as she is his sister (I chose Northern Irish). Esme Squalor re-appears in disguise at one point, so try to give her a distinct voice which you can imitate in two different accents (as Officer Luciana, I gave here Deep South Accent, whereas as the city's sixth-most important financial advisor she spoke with cut-glass received pronunciation). Mr Poe is Victorian, Phil the optimist was from Somerset, the VFD villagers all spoke with Scottish accents, the people in and around the Hostile Hospitals were all Australians and so on...
There isn't nearly as much new vocabulary in this story. Instead, as the children problem solve, there is much attention paid to how to navigate a nonfiction book (how to use the features of the text, such as the table of contents, to find information) and what to do when you come to a word you don't know. The author uses several illustrations of Violet coming to unknown words in a text, skipping over them, and using the context clues to make sense of the selection.
My children enjoy the stories so much that they don't just want to listen in the car anymore. Every night before they go to bed we listen to about an hour of the tape.
Also, I think my children appreciate me more after they see what a hard life these children have.
I would recommend these stories for older children (older then 7). Younger or overly sensitive children might get scared or become upset by some of the things that happen.