By Alynda Wheat
Updated September 24, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

New entries in Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events are as common as death, alopecia, and crabgrass — and nearly as cheerful. Picking up in this 11th book where we left off (as always), the Baudelaire orphans encounter new allies, submarine captain Widdershins and his stepdaughter, Fiona. The group’s mission in The Grim Grotto is to find a mysteriously vital sugar bowl and rendezvous with the secret society known only as the VFD, while avoiding the evil Count Olaf. If you’re a fan of the series, you know the real joy isn’t in the plot, but delighting in Snicket’s throwaway gags. In one, the bunch enters a dark cave and barely verbal toddler Sunny asks, ”Hewenkella?” Explains Violet: ”I think my sister is curious about how we’ll be able to see our way.” Somehow, we’re certain she’ll manage.