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The Vile Village
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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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