The Ersatz Elevator: Book the Sixth (A Series of Unfortunate Events)

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Overview

In their most daring misadventure, the Baudelaire orphans are adopted by very, very rich people, whose penthouse apartment is located mysteriously close to the place where all their misfortune began. Even though their new home in the city is fancy, and the children are clever and charming, I'm sorry to say that still, the unlucky orphans will encounter more disaster and woe. In fact, in this sixth book in A Series of Unfortunate Events, the children will experience a darkened staircase, a red herring, an auction,...

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A Series of Unfortunate Events #6: The Ersatz Elevator

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Overview

In their most daring misadventure, the Baudelaire orphans are adopted by very, very rich people, whose penthouse apartment is located mysteriously close to the place where all their misfortune began. Even though their new home in the city is fancy, and the children are clever and charming, I'm sorry to say that still, the unlucky orphans will encounter more disaster and woe. In fact, in this sixth book in A Series of Unfortunate Events, the children will experience a darkened staircase, a red herring, an auction, parsley soda, some friends in a dire situation, a secret passageway, and pinstripe suits.

Both literary and irreverent, hilarious and deftly crafted, A Series of Unfortunate Events offers an exquisitely dark comedy in the tradition of Edward Gorey and Roald Dahl. Lemon Snicket's uproariously unhappy books continue to win readers, despite all his warning.

Ages 10+

The woeful saga of the Baudelaire orphans continues as evil Count Olaf discovers their whereabouts at Esmâe Squalor's seventy-one bedroom penthouse and concocts a new plan for stealing their family fortune.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
The perils of the Baudelaire children continue unabated in The Ersatz Elevator, Book Six in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. These delightfully doomed siblings -- whose string of horrible luck began with a house fire that destroyed their belongings and left them orphaned -- continue their efforts to escape the clutches of their determinedly greedy and dastardly relative, Count Olaf.

After working their way through several potential guardians and surviving a boarding school debacle, the Baudelaire orphans -- 14-year-old Violet, 12-year-old Klaus, and baby Sunny -- are adopted by a wealthy couple who take them on primarily because orphans are currently considered "in" in a world that is highly subject to the dictates of fashion. When the children discover that their new guardians live in the penthouse suite at 667 Dark Avenue, they think maybe their luck is finally changing. But then they discover that the 71-bedroom apartment is on either the 48th or 84th floor, and because elevators aren't currently "in," they must climb the stairs to get there.

Then there's their new guardian, Esme Squalor, the city's sixth most important financial adviser and a cold, haughty woman whose primary concern is staying in vogue. Her husband, Jerome, is kindhearted and caring, but his determination to avoid an argument makes him a poor ally for the children. And of course there's yet another visit from the dreaded Count Olaf and his gang of cronies, who kidnapped the Baudelaire's only friends, the two Quagmire triplets, in the last book.

The humor in these tales is sly and dark and the action occasionally violent, but the slapstick silliness helps to keep the events safely nonthreatening. This time out, the fun factor is heightened by the addition of some puzzle-solving elements, as well as a few more hints about the author's life and the fate of the mysterious Beatrice. (Beth Amos)

From The Critics
The six installments of this highly popular recent series present their melodramatic yet humorous tales in a neat, old-fashioned format with decorative endpapers and apt illustrations. The three Baudelaire orphans, who find themselves with a new guardian in every book, repeatedly fend off the evil Count Olaf. This time, guardian Jerome Squalor means well, but his wife, Esme, is not to be trusted. Meanwhile, the three children are trying to rescue two of their young friends, who are being held captive by the Count. The narrator adds tongue-in-cheek humor to this sixth book about the Baudelaire orphans' dangerous escapades.
—Kathleen Odean(Excerpted Review)
VOYA
A Series of Unfortunate Events chronicles the perilous adventures of the Baudelaire children, thirteen-year-old Violet, twelve-year-old Klaus, and toddler Sunny. They were orphaned when their wealthy parents died in a tragic accident. Their parents' bank places them with a series of totally unsuitable guardians, from whom they must always make their escape. The evil Count Olaf lusts after their inheritance and continually tries to capture them. In every book in the series, he appears in a disguise that no adult can penetrate, yet the children always know it is he. In The Ersatz Elevator, the incompetent Mr. Poe takes the orphans to their latest guardians, Jerome and Esme Squalor, who live in the penthouse of a very tall building with no working elevator. The Squalors slavishly follow what is in style, and Esme is the city's sixth most important financial advisor. The children find that Olaf has disguised himself as Gunther, Esme's auctioneer, and they learn that he has brought two of the Quagmire triplets, Duncan and Isadora—their third sibling died a few books back—and is holding them captive at the bottom of the elevator shaft. Before the Baudelaires can rescue their friends—also rich orphans—Olaf takes them away and runs off with Esme, his former student. Books in this series are reminiscent of Victorian melodrama. They are full of anachronisms, and the people and events are completely outlandish—readers must suspend disbelief and go along for the ride. Younger teens with a lively sense of the ridiculous will appreciate the preposterous plots and predicaments, and older teens might enjoy the wordplay as evidenced in some of the characters' names. For others, asmall dose of Snicket will go a long way. Reading the books in order—beginning with The Bad Beginning (HarperTrophy, 1999), The Reptile Room (1999), The Wide Window (2000), The Miserable Mill (2000), and The Austere Academy (2000)—is preferred, but one will not feel lost by starting with any. Libraries already owning the series in their children's departments will not need an additional set, except perhaps for larger facilities. Middle schools with generous budgets also might want to acquire the books. VOYA CODES:3Q 2P M J (Readable without serious defects;For the YA with a special interest in the subject;Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8;Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2001, HarperCollins, 240p. PLB $8.95. Ages 11 to 15. Reviewer:Kat Kan—VOYA, December 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 5)
Children's Literature
Lemony Snicket appears to have depleted his inspiration in this, his Book the Sixth, of "A Series of Unfortunate Events." Or perhaps the long-running joke is merely running out of steam. Snicket spends pages nitpicking at words like "nervous" vs. "anxious," as is his usual wont. But the pseudonymous author's droll style is straining at the seams. The plot itself is equally strained. The Baudelaire orphans are adopted yet again—this time by a rich couple obsessed with style as opposed to rational living. Thus, as elevators are currently "out," the children spend most of the 259 pages trudging up and down an unknown number of flights of stairs (or the ersatz elevator itself) getting to and from their new apartment home. The only hopeful addition to the latest in the Baudelaire's saga is that baby Sunny has finally matured enough that her vocabulary has been graduated to a few real—rather than ersatz—words. Could this slip signify that an end is in sight to the Baudelaire's tortures? This devoutly desired denouement is, alas, dubious. 2001, HarperCollins, $14.89 and $9.95. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-The resourceful, likable, but extremely unlucky orphans Violet, Klaus, and baby Sunny continue to flee from the clutches of the fortune-hunting, disguise-wearing Count Olaf. Also, they need to discover the whereabouts of their kidnapped friends, Duncan and Isadora Quagmire, based on the puzzling clue "V.F.D." In Elevator, the three Baudelaires go to live in the penthouse of the trend-following Jerome and Esm Squalor, who adopt the children because orphans are "in." Despite the Baudelaires' resourcefulness, both Olaf and the Quagmires elude the grasp of the authorities due to the obtuseness of adults who, until it is too late, deny that terrible things can happen. In Village, the Baudelaires travel to V.F.D., a village that adopts the orphans based on the aphorism, "it takes a village to raise a child." They uncover the whereabouts of the Quagmires, but, as in the earlier books, they find neither respite nor peace from Count Olaf's machinations. Despite Snicket's artful turning of clich s on their well-worn heads, Elevator sometimes belabors the fallacy of fads at the expense of plot. Nonetheless, the satiric treatment of adults' insistence upon decorum at the expense of truth is simultaneously satisfying and unsettling, as are the deft slams at slant journalism in Village. Arch literary allusions enhance the stories for readers on different levels. Despite Snicket's perpetual caveats to "put this book down and pick up another one," the Baudelaires are dynamic characters who inspire loyalty to the inevitable end of the series.-Farida S. Dowler, formerly at Bellevue Regional Library, WA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064408646
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/28/2001
  • Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events , #6
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 69,069
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 1110L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket is often despondent, mostly about his published research, which includes A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Composer Is Dead.

Brett Helquist's celebrated art has graced books from the charming Roger, The Jolly Pirate, to the alarming New York Times bestselling A Series of Unfortunate Events, to the cozy E. B. White Read-Aloud Award finalist bedtime for bear. He lives with his family in Brooklyn, New York.

Michael Kupperman has done many illustrations for such publications as Fortune, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. He frequently writes scripts for DC Comics. This is his first book.

Biography

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end -- and, in the case of Lemony Snicket, all unfortunate things must come to an end, too. After seven years and thirteen episodes, the much beloved A Series of Unfortunate Events books are drawing to a close. At least, that's what Snicket's "handler" Daniel Handler says.

But before getting to what promises to be "the most unfortunate event of all," it is first necessary to familiarize oneself with the mysterious man who created a mega-selling series of children's novels pivoting on the premise of placing young people in peril. According to his autobiography Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography, Snicket "grew up near the sea and currently lives beneath it. To his horror and dismay, he has no wife or children, only enemies, associates, and the occasional loyal manservant. His trial has been delayed, so he is free to continue researching and recording the tragic tales of the Baudelaire orphans." Hmmm. Perhaps an autobiography purporting that it may or may not be true isn't the best place to begin.

Instead, let us focus on Daniel Handler, the man who might actually be responsible for composing the Series of Unfortunate Events books according to certain skeptics (which include Handler, himself). Daniel Handler has been asked many times why anyone would want to make a career of chronicling the ghastly trials of a trio of ill-fated orphans. "When I was young, my favorite stories were not the sort of children's books that are constantly being thrust at you when you're little," he explained in an audio essay on Barnes & Noble.com. "I didn't like books where people played on a sports team and won a bunch of games, or went to summer camp and had a wonderful time. I really liked a book where a witch might cut a child's head off or a pack of angry dogs might burst through a door and terrorize a family. So, I guess it should not be surprising that when I turned to children's literature I tried to think of all sorts of interesting things to happen to small children, and all of these things were pretty dreadful."

Handler has long made it clear that his wildly popular series would be limited to thirteen installments. The Penultimate Peril: Book the Twelfth finds the much-beleaguered Baudelaire orphans "enjoying" a family vacation at a menacing hotel, and Handler is wrapping up his saga with The End: Book the Thirteenth, which promises to tie up all remaining threads in the story in an undoubtedly exciting manner.

However, the conclusion of his series is no indication that Handler plans on bringing his writing career to an end. He has also written adult-targeted titles under his own name, including his latest, Adverbs: A Novel. This exploration of love, which Publishers Weekly deemed "lovely" and "lilting," may forgo the trademark Lemony Snicket wry morbidity, but Handler ensures readers that the book isn't without its own unfortunate events. "It's a fairly miserable story, as any story about love will be," he says. "People try to find love -- some of them find it, some of them don't, some of them have an unhappy time even if they do find it -- but it is considerably more cheerful than any of my so-called children's books."

Good To Know

Daniel Handler has a potentially embarrassing confession to make: he is an avowed accordion player. Handler says that when he told his parents about his decidedly uncool musical pursuits, they reacted "as if I had taken up heroin."

His interest in music does not end with the accordion. Close friend and leader of indie-rock band The Magnetic Fields Steven Merritt has written an original song for each audio book version of the Series of Unfortunate Events books. Merritt and Handler will be releasing a CD of all 13 "dreadful" songs when the final installment of the series is published in late 2006. Handler also lent his accordion-laying talents to The Magnetic Fields' critically acclaimed album 69 Love Songs.

Handler's persistence may rival that of the never-say-die Baudelaire orphans. His first novel, The Basic Eight, was rejected 37 times before it was finally published.

He enjoys the work of novelist Haruki Murakami so much that Handler devoted an entire essay to the subject in the plainly and guilelessly entitled Village Voice review, "I Love Murakami."

According to a former high school classmate writing in the local paper, Handler was "voted not only Class Clown, but also Best Actor, Chatterbox, and Teacher's Pet."

A few fun facts from our interview with Handler:

"I can cook anything."

"I know one very good card trick."

"I auditioned for an enormous role in the film Gigli."

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    1. Also Known As:
      In some parts, people get to know him through his handler, Daniel Handler.
    2. Hometown:
      Snicket is something of a nomad. Handler lives in San Francisco, California.
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 28, 1970
    2. Place of Birth:
      Handler was born in San Francisco in 1970, and says Snicket's family has roots in a land that's now underwater.
    1. Education:
      Handler is a 1992 graduate of Wesleyan University in Connecticut.
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The book you are holding in your two hands right now -- assuming that you are, in fact, holding this book, and that you have only two hands -- is one of two books in the world that will show you the difference between the word "nervous" and the word "anxious." The other book, of course, is the dictionary, and if I were you I would read that book instead.

Like this book, the dictionary shows you that the word "nervous" means "worried about something" -- you might feel nervous, for instance, if you were served prune ice cream for dessert, because you would be worried that it would taste awful -- whereas the word "anxious" means "troubled by disturbing suspense," which you might feel if you were served a live alligator for dessert, because you would be troubled by the disturbing suspense about whether you would eat your dessert or it would eat you. But unlike this book, the dictionary also discusses words that are far more pleasant to contemplate. The word "bubble" is in the dictionary, for instance, as is the word "peacock," the word "vacation," and the words "the" "author's" "execution" "has" "been" "canceled," which make up a sentence that is always pleasant to hear. So if you were to read the dictionary, rather than this book, you could skip the parts about "nervous" and "anxious" and read about things that wouldn't keep you up all night long, weeping and tearing out your hair. But this book is not the dictionary, and if you were to skip the parts about "nervous" and "anxious" in this book, you would be skipping the most pleasant sections in the entire story. Nowhere in this book will you find the words "bubble," "peacock," "vacation," or, unfortunately for me, anything about an execution being canceled. Instead, I'm sorry to say, you will find the words "grief, "despair," and "woeful" as well as the phrases "dark passageway," "Count Olaf in disguise," and "the Baudelaire orphans were trapped," plus an assortment of miserable words and phrases that I cannot bring myself to write down. In short, reading a dictionary might make you feel nervous, because you would worry about finding it very boring, but reading this book will make you feel anxious, because you will be troubled by the disturbing suspense in which the Baudelaire orphans find themselves, and if I were you I would drop this book right out of your two or more hands and curl up with a dictionary instead, because all the miserable words I must use to describe these unfortunate events are about to reach your eyes.

"I imagine you must be nervous," Mr. Poe said. Mr. Poe was a banker who had been put in charge of the Baudelaire orphans following the death of their parents in a horrible fire. I am sorry to say that Mr. Poe had not done a very good job so far, and that the Baudelaires had learned that the only thing they could rely on with Mr. Poe was that he always had a cough. Sure enough, as soon as he finished his sentence, he took out his white handkerchief and coughed into it.

The flash of white cotton was practically the only thing the Baudelaire orphans could see. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny were standing with Mr. Poe in front of an enormous apartment building on Dark Avenue, a street in one of the fanciest districts in the city. Although Dark Avenue was just a few blocks away from where the Baudelaire mansion had been, the three children had never been in this neighborhood before, and they had assumed that the "dark" in Dark Avenue was simply a name and nothing more, the way a street named George Washington Boulevard does not necessarily indicate that George Washington lives there or the way Sixth Street has not been divided into six equal parts. But this afternoon the Baudelaires realized that Dark Avenue was more than a name. It was an appropriate description. Rather than streetlamps, placed at regular intervals along the sidewalk were enormous trees the likes of which the children had never seen before -- and which they could scarcely see now. High above a thick and prickly trunk, the branches of the trees drooped down like laundry hung out to dry, spreading their wide, flat leaves out in every direction, like a low, leafy ceiling over the Baudelaires' heads. This ceiling blocked out all the light from above, so even though it was the middle of the afternoon, the street looked as dark as evening -- if a bit greener. It was hardly a good way to make three orphans feel welcome as they approached their new home.

"You have nothing to be nervous about," Mr. Poe said, putting his handkerchief back in his pocket. "I realize some of your previous guardians have caused a little trouble, but I think Mr. and Mrs. Squalor will provide you with a proper home."

"We're not nervous," Violet said. "We're too anxious to be nervous."

"'Anxious' and 'nervous' mean the same thing," Mr. Poe said. "And what do you have to be anxious about, anyway?"

"Count Olaf, of course," Violet replied. Violet was fourteen, which made her the eldest Baudelaire child and the one who was most likely to speak up to adults. She was a superb inventor, and I am certain that if she had not been so anxious, she would have tied her hair up in a ribbon to keep it out of her eyes while she thought of an invention that could brighten up her surroundings.

"Count Olaf?" Mr. Poe said dismissively. "Don't worry about him. He'll never find you here."

The three children looked at one another and sighed. Count Olaf had been the first guardian Mr. Poe had found for the orphans, and he was a person as shady as Dark Avenue. He had one long eyebrow, a tattoo of an eye on his ankle, and two filthy hands that he hoped to use to snatch away the Baudelaire fortune that the orphans would inherit as soon as Violet came of age. The children had convinced Mr. Poe to remove them from Olaf's care, but since then the count had pursued them with a dogged determination, a phrase which here means "everywhere they went, thinking up treacherous schemes and wearing disguises to try to fool the three children."

"It's hard not to worry about Olaf," Klaus said, taking off his glasses to see if it was easier to look around the gloom without them, "because he has our compatriots in his clutches." Although Klaus, the middle Baudelaire, was only twelve, he had read so many books that he frequently used words like "compatriots," which is a fancy word for "friends." Klaus was referring to the Quagmire triplets, whom the Baudelaires had met while they were attending boarding school. Duncan Quagmire was a reporter, and was always writing down useful information in his notebook. Isadora Quagmire was a poet, and used her notebook to write poetry. The third triplet, Quigley, had died in a fire before the Baudelaire orphans had the opportunity to meet him, but the Baudelaires were certain that he would have been as good a friend as his siblings. Like the Baudelaires, the Quagmires were orphans, having lost their parents in the same fire that claimed their brother's life, and also like the Baudelaires, the Quagmires had been left an enormous fortune, in the form of the famous Quagmire sapphires, which were very rare and valuable jewels. But unlike the Baudelaires, they had not been able to escape Count Olaf's clutches. Just when the Quagmires had learned some terrible secret about Olaf, he had snatched them away, and since then the Baudelaires had been so worried that they had scarcely slept a wink. Whenever they closed their eyes, they saw only the long, black car that had whisked the Quagmires away, and they heard only the sound of their friends shrieking one fragment of the dreadful secret they had learned. "V.F.D.!" Duncan had screamed, just before the car raced away, and the Baudelaires tossed and turned, and worried for their friends, and wondered what in the world V.F.D. could stand for.

"You don't have to worry about the Quagmires, either," Mr. Poe said confidently. "At least, not for much longer. I don't know if you happened to read the Mulctuary Money Management newsletter, but I have some very good news about your friends."

"Gavu?" Sunny asked. Sunny was the youngest Baudelaire orphan, and the smallest, too. She was scarcely larger than a salami. This size was usual for her age, but she had four teeth that were larger and sharper than those of any other baby I have ever seen. Despite the maturity of her mouth, however, Sunny usually talked in a way most people found difficult to understand. By "Gavu," for instance, she meant something along the lines of "The Quagmires have been found and rescued?" and Violet was quick to translate so Mr. Poe would understand.

"Better than that," Mr. Poe said. "I have been promoted. I am now the bank's Vice President in Charge of Orphan Affairs. That means that I am in charge not only of your situation, but of the Quagmire situation as well. I promise you that I will concentrate a great deal of my energy on finding the Quagmires and returning them to safety, or my name isn't" -- ere Mr. Poe interrupted himself to cough once more into his handkerchief, and the Baudelaires waited patiently until he finished -- "Poe. Now, as soon as I drop you off here I am taking a three-week helicopter ride to a mountain peak where the Quagmires may have been spotted. It will be very difficult to reach me during that time, as the helicopter has no phone, but I will call you as soon as I get back with your young pals. Now, can you see the number on this building? It's hard for me to tell if we're at the right place."

"I think it says 667," Klaus said, squinting in the dim green light.

"Then we're here," Mr. Poe said. "Mr. and Mrs. Squalor live in the penthouse apartment of 667 Dark Avenue. I think the door is here."

"No, it's over here," said a high, scratchy voice out of the darkness. The Baudelaires jumped a little in surprise, and turned to see a man wearing a hat with a wide brim and a coat that was much too big for him. The coat sleeves hung over his hands, covering them completely, and the brim of his hat covered most of his face. He was so difficult to see that it was no wonder that the children hadn't spotted him earlier. "Most of our visitors find it hard to spot the door," the man said. "That's why they hired a doorman."

"Well, I'm glad they did," Mr. Poe said. "My name is Poe, and I have an appointment with Mr. and Mrs. Squalor to drop off their new children."

"Oh, yes," the doorman said. "They told me you were coming. Come on in."

The doorman opened the door of the building and showed them inside to a room that was as dark as the street. Instead of lights, there were only a few candles placed on the floor, and the children could scarcely tell whether it was a large room or a small room they were standing in.

"My, it's dark in here," Mr. Poe said. "Why don't you ask your employers to bring in a good strong halogen lamp?"

"We can't," the doorman replied. "Right now, dark is in."

"In what?" Violet asked.

"Just 'in,'" the doorman explained. "Around here, people decide whether something is in, which means it's stylish and appealing, or out, which means it's not. And it changes all the time. Why, just a couple of weeks ago, dark was out, and light was in, and you should have seen this neighborhood. You had to wear sunglasses all the time or you'd hurt your eyes."

"Dark is in, huh?" Mr. Poe said. "Wait until I tell my wife. In the meantime, could you show us where the elevator is? Mr. and Mrs. Squalor live in the penthouse apartment, and I don't want to walk all the way to the top floor."

"Well, I'm afraid you'll have to," the doorman said. "There's a pair of elevator doors right over there, but they won't be of any use to you."

"Is the elevator out of order?" Violet asked. "I'm very good with mechanical devices, and I'd be happy to take a look at it."

"That's a very kind and unusual offer," the doorman said. "But the elevator isn't out of order. It's just out. The neighborhood decided that elevators were out, so they had the elevator shut down. Stairs are in, though, so there's still a way to get to the penthouse. Let me show you."

The doorman led the way across the lobby, and the Baudelaire orphans peered up at a very long, curved staircase made of wood, with a metal banister that curved alongside. Every few steps, they could see, somebody had placed more candles, so the staircase looked like nothing more than curves of flickering lights, growing dimmer as the staircase went farther and farther up, until they could see nothing at all.

"I've never seen anything like this," Klaus said.

"It looks more like a cave than a staircase," Violet said.

"Pinse!" Sunny said, which meant something like "Or outer space!"

"It looks like a long walk to me," Mr. Poe said, frowning. He turned to the doorman. "How many floors up does this staircase go?"

The doorman's shoulders shrugged underneath his oversized coat. "I can't remember," he said. "I think it's forty-eight, but it might be eighty-four."

"I didn't know buildings could be that high," Klaus said.

"Well, whether it's forty-eight or eighty-four," Mr. Poe said, "I don't have time to walk you children all the way up. I'll miss my helicopter. You'll have to go up by yourselves, and tell Mr. and Mrs. Squalor that I send my regards."

"We have to walk up by ourselves?" Violet said.

"Just be glad you don't have any of your things with you," Mr. Poe said. "Mrs. Squalor said there was no reason to bring any of your old clothing, and I think it's because she wanted to save you the effort of dragging suitcases up all those stairs."

"You're not going to come with us?" Klaus asked.

"I simply don't have the time to accompany you," Mr. Poe said, "and that is that."

The Baudelaires looked at one another. The children knew, as I'm sure you know, that there is usually no reason to be afraid of the dark, but even if you are not particularly afraid of something, you might not want to get near it, and the orphans were a bit nervous about climbing all the way up to the penthouse without an adult walking beside them.

"If you're afraid of the dark," Mr. Poe said, "I suppose I could delay my search for the Quagmires, and take you to your new guardians."

"No, no," Klaus said quickly. "We're not afraid of the dark, and finding the Quagmires is much more important."

"Obog," Sunny said doubtfully.

"Just try to crawl as long as you can," Violet said to her sister, "and then Klaus and I will take turns carrying you. Good-bye, Mr. Poe."

"Good-bye, children," Mr. Poe said. "If there's any problem, remember you can always contact me or any of my associates at Mulctuary Money Management -- at least, as soon as I get off the helicopter."

"There's one good thing about this staircase," the doorman joked, starting to walk Mr. Poe back to the front door. "It's all uphill from here."

The Baudelaire orphans listened to the doorman's chuckles as he disappeared into the darkness, and they walked up the first few steps. As I'm sure you know, the expression "It's all uphill from here" has nothing to do with walking up stairs -- it merely means that things will get better in the future. The children had understood the joke, but they were too anxious to laugh. They were anxious about Count Olaf, who might find them any minute. They were anxious about the Quagmire triplets, whom they might never see again. And now, as they began to walk up the candlelit stairway, they were anxious about their new guardians. They tried to imagine what sort of people would live on such a dark street, in such a dark building, and at the top of either forty-eight or eighty-four flights of very dark stairs. They found it difficult to believe that things would get better in the future when they lived in such gloomy and poorly lit surroundings. Even though a long, upward climb awaited them, as the Baudelaire orphans started walking into the darkness, they were too anxious to believe it was all uphill from here.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 338 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 29, 2009

    three sad orphans

    the ersatz elevator is a sad tale abouut three orphans; Sunny, Klaus, and Violet. They keep switching guardians because of "Unfortunate Events" caused be Count Olaf. Who in my opinion symbolizes the troubles and obsticals the children have to overcome. This book is aa drama and action novel every child or teen should read. Count Olaf disqises himself as different characters to fool the gaurdians, which always works.
    And as of now the Baudelaires' guardians are two wealthy, snuudy, uncaring, people. They don't care what the orphans have to say so they THINK thier large penthouse is safe. The childrens' personalities and interests make the book worth reading. Sunny loves her biting skills and Klaus is a big reader and reasercher. Violet is a young inventer and the most couragous because she is eldest. They are all very intellegent, but can they outsmart the bad Count Olaf?

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2012

    Very good book. I love it

    I hope that everybody loves this book as much as i do. This book is soo good. Lemony Snicket is a very talented author or a least i think so. I have also read other books by this great author and love them too.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2012

    I like Sunny

    Love this book beacause it really grabs my attention and pulls me away from whatever else I am doing and it seams to be saying READ ME. Sunny is my fave beacause she has amazing teeth that can help them out of traps. I also like her beacause she is the most courages of the three. Rating: A

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2012

    Love it!!!!

    Ive read the whole series, and i love it!!! Im eleven and love lemmoney snickets books. This book is full of surprises and adventure as the bauldalaire orphans track down rhe evil scheme of count olaf one more!!!!!! d;)

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2012

    AWESOME!!!!!

    This ws my favorite out of all of the books! I loved it!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2012

    incredible

    i love the whole series they are just such a good series to read

    I WOULD RATE IT A++++++++++++
    :)

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2012

    Best book ever

    This is my favorite book ever but if you want to read it start with the first book then make your way up to this one the sixth

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2012

    The best

    This is an amazing interesting book that will make you jump out of your seat. Its so interesting and easy to finish because you just get so in to it. The suspense of it. The mysteries. Everything. Dont read this book until you have read the first book second book third book fourth book and fith book. Also lemony snicket has an autobiography but it doesnt make any sense until you have read all of the books. I got the autobiography and i was so confused. Some people are spoiler alerts and spoil the story but all i want to say is buy this book. Please. You wont regret it dont worry. I jumped up and down reading the first chapter :) you will love it so much.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2011

    Where are my socks?!?

    This was one of the best books i have ever read! It really draws you in. Lemony Snicket is a true artistic genius.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2014

    Amazing

    I love these books! You should totaly read not only this book but the whole series. My teacher introduced it to me and now whenever i have free time i read these

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2012

    BEST BOOK EVR E BEST;99 BEST BOOK EVER

    I love this book!!!!!!!!?

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2012

    This is my favorote book in the series! This is my favorite in the series!

    Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are sent to Dark Avenue, and it's the sixth place they've been to since their parents died in a horrible fire. They've been to evil Count Olaf who haunts them in every book, very nice Uncle Monty, grammar freak Aunt Josephine, the mysterious Sir, and the latest, Vice Principal Nero, the horrible violinist. Read this book as the three Baudelaire orphans work to find their long lost friends, the true meaning of V.F.D., and much more!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2012

    Love the book

    AMAZING i love this book including the hoe series i love Lemoney Snicket i'm his biggest fan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 29, 2014

    The Ersatz Elevator is the sixth book in A Series of Unfortunate

    The Ersatz Elevator is the sixth book in A Series of Unfortunate Events by American author, Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler). As we once again join the unlucky Baudelaire orphans, they are deposited by their banker, the constantly coughing Mr Poe, at 667 Dark Avenue, into the hands of their new guardians, Jerome and Esme Squalor. Esme is a rather forceful woman who is a dedicated follower of fashion, while Jerome never likes to argue, with anyone. Having already suffered the loss of their parents, the threat of marriage, slave labour, hypnosis, a terrible boarding school, and the murder of their Uncle Monty and Aunt Josephine at the hands of the evil Count Olaf and his nefarious assistants, the siblings are ever-vigilant of his reappearance. Luckily these well-mannered and uncomplaining children are also very resourceful: Violet invents, Klaus researches and Sunny bites. Snicket’s tone throughout is apologetic, sincere and matter-of-fact as he relates the unfortunate events in the children’s lives; his imaginative and even surreptitiously educational style will hold much appeal for younger readers.  Snicket’s word and phrase definitions are often hilarious. This instalment sees the Baudelaires  climbing a lot of stairs (and occasionally sliding down bannisters), forced to wear ill-fitting pinstripe suits, drinking aqua martinis and parsley sodas, eating at Café Salmonella, climbing up and down a lift shaft, being thrown down a lift shaft, and improvising ropes and welding equipment, all the while worrying about their kidnapped friends, the Quagmire triplets. Count Olaf once again manages to fool the adults with a simple disguise involving a monocle, high boots and improper English. Sunny uses her teeth to save the day and surprises everyone by bidding at an auction. As always, the alliterative titles are delightful and Brett Helquist provides some wonderfully evocative illustrations. Where will the orphans end up next? Perhaps the seventh installment, The Vile Village, will shed light on their fate. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2013

    Series of the unfortunate events

    I love this book it is so full of mystery and you never know what count olaf is the up for this time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2012

    I love this book

    I have always loved the unfortunate events series. I am curently on book 9, but wanting to check it out at a close library. Lemony Snicket is a fictional story mastermind when it comes to his wonderful tales of the bauldilare (forgive me if i spelt it wrong) orphens. He also has some autobiographies the i have yet read. But i will soon read about how he was like growing up. Read all of his unfortunate books, they will keep you from anything else you love to do. Especially if you has a sence of humer, advemture, drama, and sadness. This book would be in so many catagouries of just plain AWESOME!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2012

    Alen

    Hate it

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2012

    Gr8

    This book is amazing gr8

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2012

    Sandyyyy i like writing reviews!

    Im gonna read this book soon yay!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2012

    Review by RW

    Esme sounds like a french evil mime that likes candy canes. And olafs girlfriend

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 338 Customer Reviews

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