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The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy-Tale Detectives: Michael Buckley

The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy-Tale Detectives is the first book in the Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley. I found the book to be a quirky mixture of modern orphan story and whimsical fairytale. The premise is that the orphaned sisters, 12-year-old Sabrina and 7-year-old Daphne, after a variety of heinous foster care experiences (much like in Ruby Holler), are sent to live with a woman who may or may not be their grandmother.

This woman, Mrs. Relda Grimm, lives in a small, isolated town in New York, populated with some unexpected characters and unusual events. There, Sabrina and Daphne learn that their family's business is to keep the peace, and investigate strange or criminal behavior among the Everafters (fairy tale characters, living real lives, trapped in the town of Ferryport). Before they know it, the two girls are caught up in a mystery involving real estate speculation, giants, and a kidnapped grandmother. It's a fun romp, with cameos by famous and not-so-famous fairy tale figures, featuring the creative use of fairy tale objects (Excalibur, the ruby slippers, the magic mirror, etc.).

The Sisters Grimm books are a child-friendly parallel to Jasper Fforde's Nursery Crime series. They're light-hearted and fun, and there's pretty much no end to what the author can do with fairy tale figures and magical objects for future books. I personally prefer the intrepid young Daphne to her more highly strung older sister. And my favorite character in the series so far is Puck (yes, that Puck, in permanent early adolescence). The grandma is pretty fun, too. In addition to fairy tale fun, The Sisters Grimm series also highlights family dynamics, loyalty, personal responsibility, and the difficulty of knowing who to trust. I think that kids will enjoy these books. I look forward to the next book in the series. I especially want to see how things evolve between young Puck and the Grimm sisters. Fun stuff!

Book: The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy-Tale Detectives
Author: Michael Buckley and Peter Ferguson (illustrator)
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
Original Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 192
Age Range: 9-12

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