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The Miserable Mill: Book the Fourth (A Series of Unfortunate Events)

The Miserable Mill: Book the Fourth (A Series of Unfortunate Events)

4.4 341
by Lemony Snicket, Brett Helquist (Illustrator), Michael Kupperman (Illustrator)

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Dear Listener,

If you have chosen to listen to this audio for pleasure, I advise you to put it down instantaneously, because of all the audios describing the unhappy lives of the Baudelaire orphans, The Miserable Mill might be the unhappiest.

This recording contains such unpleasantries as a giant pincher machine, a bad casserole, a man with a cloud of smoke


Dear Listener,

If you have chosen to listen to this audio for pleasure, I advise you to put it down instantaneously, because of all the audios describing the unhappy lives of the Baudelaire orphans, The Miserable Mill might be the unhappiest.

This recording contains such unpleasantries as a giant pincher machine, a bad casserole, a man with a cloud of smoke where his head should be, and coupons. If you prefer stories that are more heartwarming, please feel free to make another selection.

I also shouldn't mention the interactive features of the CD, which include:

  • A perplexing word game
  • Photos from The Lemony Snicket Archives
  • Art from The Brett Helquist gallery

I have promised to record the entire history of these poor children, but you haven't, so please feel free to make another selection.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket

Editorial Reviews

The world's unluckiest trio of children have their most perilous adventure yet in The Miserable Mill, the fourth book in Lemony Snicket's delightful tales of woe, A Series of Unfortunate Events. Orphans Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire have yet to find a guardian they can live with and, after the disasters that occurred during their last living arrangement, they are now headed for a lumber mill in the town of Paltryville (most of the names used in these tales are as revealing as they are entertaining), located just beyond the gloomy, black Finite Forest.

Another misadventure is virtually guaranteed when the children arrive at the mill and discover an eye-shaped building (the eye being Count Olaf's signature symbol) located right next door. Supposedly the building is an eye clinic, but the children have their doubts. Life with their newest caretaker doesn't look very promising either, as the children are forced to work in the mill and bunk in a dormitory with the other employees, all of whom are paid in coupons. Then Klaus breaks his glasses and has to visit the eye clinic. He doesn't return for hours -- and then when he does, he acts very strangely.

Violet begins to suspect that Klaus has been hypnotized and her investigation of the eye clinic reveals Count Olaf in his latest disguise. It's one the children can see through easily, though they can't seem to convince any of the adults around them that the eye clinic receptionist named Shirley is actually Count Olaf. Only by using their singular strengths -- Violet's knack for inventing, Klaus's book smarts, and Sunny's T-Rex-like bite -- can they escape their latest horrible fate.

While many of the events that occur on these pages are indeed bleak, miserable, and unfortunate, the indomitable spirits of the Baudelaire children and Lemony Snicket's gleeful telling of their tale makes reading them irresistible. As a side benefit, there's also a marvelous education in linguistics hidden amidst the mishaps. (Beth Amos)

Children's Literature - Children's Literature
The pseudonymous Snicket returns in fine fettle for "Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 4." In this episode the three Baudelaire orphans are shipped off to labor like serfs in the Lucky Smells Lumbermill, being fed nothing but a stick of chewing gum for lunch, nasty casseroles for dinner--and always, always living in fear that their nemesis, the villainous Count Olaf, is lurking somewhere very near, about to pounce. It remains, however, irrelevant what gloom and doom actually descends upon these children while Snicket is the omniscient narrator in charge. His marvelous asides and play on words are what enliven these Victorian-style satires. It's unclear how many actual children there are out there who can follow Snicket's verbal swoops, but he's a joy to the literate adult. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr—Children's Literature
The Baudelaire children were orphaned when their parents were killed in a fire. Violet (14), Klaus (12) and, the infant, Sunny, are being sent to yet another place (#4) in the hopes of securing a permanent home. Each adventure has them being tracked by the dastardly Count Olaf and his cronies who want to swindle the children out of their substantial inheritance. The Miserable Mill was the Lucky Smells Lumbermill in the Finite Forest in Paltryville. The children live an unhappy existence. They have no breakfast, chewing gum for lunch, and a casserole for dinner. They must debark trees, saw planks, share the space of one bunk bed, and overcome adults who will not listen to them — because we all know that children "should be seen..." They find disaster and danger lurking everywhere. They just cannot win. The Miserable Mill is written in the style of Dahl and Dickens. Although the story is predictable, the narrator (Lemony Snicket) keeps young readers guessing and giggling. The Baudelaire children are upbeat, smart, lovely, and optimistic. Readers become optimistic all the while predicting (optimistically) success for them. This is the fourth of a series of events that chronicle the eventful mishaps of the children. Genre: Reviewer: Linda Broughton; Mobile, Alabama

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.82(d)
1000L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Sometime during your life–in fact, very soon–you may find yourself reading a book, and you may notice that a book's first sentence can often tell you what sort of story your book contains. For instance, a book that began with the sentence "Once upon a time there was a family of cunning little chipmunks who lived in a hollow tree" would probably contain a story full of talking animals who get into all sorts of mischief. A book that began with the sentence "Emily sat down and looked at the stack of blueberry pancakes her mother had prepared for her, but she was too nervous about Camp Timbertops to eat a bite" would probably contain a story full of giggly girls who have a grand old time. And a book that began with the sentence "Gary smelled the leather of his brand-new catcher's mitt and waited impatiently for his best friend Larry to come around the corner" would probably contain a story full of sweaty boys who win some sort of trophy. And if you liked mischief, a grand old time, or trophies, you would know which book to read, and you could throw the rest of them away.

But this book begins with the sentence "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 any better," and you should be able to tell that the story that follows will be very different from the story of Gary or Emily or the family of cunning little chipmunks. And this is for the simple reason that the lives of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are very different from most people's lives, with the main differencebeing the amount of unhappiness, horror, and despair. The three children have no time to get into all sorts of mischief, because misery follows them wherever they go. They have not had a grand old time since their parents died in a terrible fire. And the only trophy they would win would be some sort of First Prize for Wretchedness. It is atrociously unfair, of course, that the Baudelaires have so many troubles, but that is the way the story goes. So now that I've told you that the first sentence will be "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 any better," if you wish to avoid an unpleasant story you had best put this book down.

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 any better. An announcement over a crackly loudspeaker had just told them that in a few minutes they would arrive in the town of Paltryville, where their new caretaker lived, and they couldn't help wondering who in the world would want to live in such dark and eerie countryside. Violet, who was fourteen and the eldest Baudelaire, looked out at the trees of the forest, which were very tall and had practically no branches, so they looked almost like metal pipes instead of trees. Violet was an inventor, and was always designing machines and devices in her head, with her hair tied up in a ribbon to help her think, and as she gazed out at the trees she began work on a mechanism that would allow you to climb to the top of any tree, even if it were completely bare. Klaus, who was twelve, looked down at the forest floor, which was covered in brown, patchy moss. Klaus liked to read more than anything else, and he tried to remember what he had read about Paltryville mosses and whether any of them were edible. And Sunny, who was just an infant, looked out at the smoky gray sky that hung over the forest like a damp sweater. Sunny had four sharp teeth, and biting things with them was what interested her most, and she was eager to see what there was available to bite in the area. But even as Violet began planning her invention, and Klaus thought of his moss research, and Sunny opened and closed her mouth as a prebiting exercise, the Finite Forest looked so uninspiring that they couldn't help wondering if their new home would really be a pleasant one.

"What a lovely forest!" Mr. Poe remarked, and coughed into a white handkerchief. Mr. Poe was a banker who had been in charge of managing the Baudelaire affairs since the fire, and I must tell you that he was not doing a very good job. His two main duties were finding the orphans a good home and protecting the enormous fortune that the children's parents had left behind, and so far each home had been a catastrophe, a word which here means "an utter disaster involving tragedy, deception, and Count Olaf." Count Olaf was a terrible man who wanted the Baudelaire fortune for himself, and tried every disgusting scheme he could think of to steal it. Time after time he had come very close to succeeding, and time after time the Baudelaire orphans had revealed his plan, and time after time he had escaped–and all Mr. Poe had ever done was cough. Now he was accompanying the children to Paltryville, and it pains me to tell you that once again Count Olaf would appear with yet another disgusting scheme, and that Mr. Poe would once again fail to do anything even remotely helpful. "What a lovely forest!" Mr. Poe said again, when he was done coughing. "I think you children will have a good home here. I hope you do, anyway, because I've just received a promotion at Mulctuary Money Management. I'm now the Vice President in Charge of Coins, and from now on I will be busier than ever. If anything goes wrong with you here, I will have to send you to boarding school until I have time to find you another home, so please be on your best behavior."

"Of course, Mr. Poe," Violet said, not adding that she and her siblings had always been on their best behavior but that it hadn't done them any good.

Meet the Author

Lemony Snicket had an unusual education which may or may not explain his ability to evade capture. He is the author of the 13 volumes in A Series of Unfortunate Events, several picture books including The Dark, and the books collectively titled All The Wrong Questions.

Brett Helquist's celebrated art has graced books from the charming Bedtime for Bear, which he also wrote, to the New York Times–bestselling A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket to the glorious picture book adaptation of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. 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.

Brief Biography

Snicket is something of a nomad. Handler lives in San Francisco, California.
Date of Birth:
February 28, 1970
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.
Handler is a 1992 graduate of Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

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The Miserable Mill: Book the Fourth (A Series of Unfortunate Events) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 341 reviews.
Sam Samtani More than 1 year ago
this book is really cool if you like mystery
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book! This is a great series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a book that has described the 4th misfortune in the Baudelaire lives. It is really intersting and twisted! If you love lumbermills,Count Olaf's assitants' disguises,and Klaus being hypnotized over and over for a reason by his assitants, you have no other book to choose from!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was indeed sad but i very much enjoyed it. Even if it is most sad of its kind it was not wasted time of mine reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this series if my friend did not tell me about these books i would miss all of the action my nook is low on battery power so i say one thing READ THIS SERIES
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So far so good you all might want too read the other books in this serie thus one is the fourth book the first one has this evil guy named count Olaf and he tries to steal the Baudelair fortune he only way you can tell if it is him is if he has a tattoo on his left ankle he does have it covered in some of the books in one of them he has it covered woth powder in the other he has it covered with a fake peg leg un rhis one i have not gotten that far to see if he is in the boo or not whoch he probably will be or if he will be the caretaker or if he has it covered or not
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book by far is my favorite.
cema More than 1 year ago
I realy enjoy this book you real should read this series starting with book one and read them in order or you may get lost as to what is happening I read one and cant wait to read the next to find out what is going to happen to these kids next
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it!!!!! :)
Manuel Francia More than 1 year ago
BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So awesome best book ever.did i tell you it was awesome
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sad but touching.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great !!
James Doak More than 1 year ago
This book wasn't my favorite, but you should read it because in the 11th and the 12th both mention characters from it.
Hamida Newsome More than 1 year ago
Luv it
Carolyn Jensen More than 1 year ago
These books are my best. There adventerous, mistereous, and most of all there interesting.
Sophia Mohammed More than 1 year ago
I am a fan of these books and, naturally, I luv it!!!
MyndiL 4 months ago
Book four in this series is as aptly named as the rest...The Miserable Mill, miserable being a very key word. These books are not for the person who wants to read a sappy romance, or a fun adventure. The author himself explains that at the beginning of the book. One of my favorite parts of these books is when the author compares the story to one of his own life, which may or may not be all that similar but the way its told is often times hilarious. I also enjoy how intelligent the orphans are when the adults around them seem to be so dim. While they rely on adults to save them each time, it's really the children who find out the plots and schemes and go through the books trying to get the adults to figure it out too, all the while inventing and reading and coming up with ways to stop Count Olaf. Fans of a darker style of mystery/adventure story will love this series.
Anonymous 4 months ago
" I am prepared for this ,the headmaster of hogwarts Albus told me what to do " she said. I felt surprisingly calm around her. She led me through a round tunnel in 6B. " Call me Violet she said after a while. " what is hogwarts " i asked. "Hogwarts is the school you belong in it is a shcool teaching young withces and wizards magic, she explaind as we went on a huge silver bus called The Nightbus. Two rednecks welcomed us and i walked into the biggest bus i had ever seen. It was double decked loded with beds. Violet found a perfect bed for us. The drivers were awfull they nearly killed us every few seconds of our flying ride. " So at Hogwarts you will need a wand these books and this cloak." Violet explained. The wand is a powerfull tool used to do magic. Don't use the wand untill instructed. The books are for your classes and this robe is for uniform. I arrived at hogwarts several hours of sleep later. " First years fallow Professor Snape " cried a wolman is a grey haired bun with spectacles. I suspected I was a first and fallowed a mob of children. Professer Snape led the mob into a massive commen room with sparkling lights and butiful floating decorations.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Different title <p> TAMARA: Flying! Alone?! Was she crazy? "Uhh, I'm not feeling that too much, Mom." My mom sighed. "I guess I should explain." Yeah, you should! <p> "Well," she began, "You know that you father and I are divorced. And you have a sister." <p> I was perfectly aware of this. It might seem... callous of me to never have cared to know my sister. My mother hated to talk about my dad. She told me they made an arrangement that one parent could have one girl. I don't know how much younger or older I am than her. My mom said that it was past and didn't need to talk about it. <p> "Your father and sister live all they across the country. In Idaho." <p> What state's Idaho in? I nodded so I wouldn't feel so dumb. "Your father called and wants you to send some time with him and Kaylynn." <p> KAYLYNN: "Who?" I asked. "Tamara." Who was he talking about? The way he said it made me feel like when I told my friend I had NEVER heard of Hugh Jackman. <p> He scratched his head and looked sheepish. "I swear I've told you about her. Haven't l?" Now I was worried. "I called your mom. She's sending Tamara over to spend some time with us." <p> "Who the freak is this Tamara?" I burstd. My dad's face twistd. "Your... sister." <p> My breath froze. I couldn't breath. What was he talking about? I didn't have sister. He would have told me. We DON'T keep secrets from each other. What else isn't he telling me?
Anonymous 12 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kiss your hand three times than post this on thee books and look under your pillow
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A hypnotist, a receptionist, a lumbermill, and and three children who can't seem to get any luck. I'm afraid the book you're about to read is very unplesant. Even though the.lumbermill they live at now is called Lucky Smells Lumbermill, it still isn't lucky enough for the Baulderies. Will they be able to stop Count Olaf? And if not... are you next? Reply to me via roblox! My username: TheAbsolGaming!