Monday, August 31, 2009

The Fairy Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm, Book 1) by Michael Buckley

The Fairy Tale Detectives is the first book in Michael Buckley's "The Sister's Grimm" series. I've been meaning to read it for quite some time because I knew the thought of a mystery featuring girl sleuths and fairy tale characters would be appealing, but I only recently stumbled across it at the library.

Sabrina and Daphne Grimm's parents have been missing for a over a year, and they've been shuffled from foster home to foster home. When a mysterious and kind of kooky old lady claims to be their grandmother, their social worker is eager to send them to her. Of course, the eldest sister is filled with suspicion since her parents have always claimed that her grandmother was dead, and it takes a while to warm up to Granny Relda. When they arrive at Granny Relda's mysterious house, they soon learn that they are part of the Grimm family...yes, descendants of the Brothers Grimm. The most surprising part is that those "stories" the Grimm brothers wrote were real, and fairy tale characters are living incognito in the small town where the girls have moved. When a giant threatens the safety of the town and Granny Relda herself, it's up to the Sisters Grimm to save the day.

Sometimes when I'm reading and evaluating books for this blog, I tend to get caught up in flaws and forget that I'm supposed to be evaluating it for the audience in which the books were intended. For me, I would have liked more character development, and the writing wasn't perfect. I was a bit annoyed when the author had Puck explain who he was. After all, who HASN'T read A Midsummer Night's Dream? I then had to remind myself that most middle graders probably haven't. Yeah, us English majors can get a bit uppity sometimes.

HOWEVER, I do think that this book and the entire series will appeal to many many kids if they haven't discovered it already. I think girls especially will like the young sleuths, and if kids are familiar with fairy tales, they'll be delighted at all of the fairy tale references and Michael Buckley's interesting and unexpected depictions of them. It's fast-paced and humorous, and the end leaves a bit of suspense that begs you to read the next book.

Give this to kids who love to read about mystery and magic.

Reading level: Age 9-12 | Publisher: Amulet, April 1, 2007 | ISBN: 978-0810993228 | Source: Public library


  1. This series is one of my oldest daughter's favourites! We read the first one aloud and she read the rest to herself. She absolutely loves them.

  2. My daughters (ages 8 & 10) have loved this series. They started listening to it on audio (very fun) and then switched to reading the books as they got hooked on the series.

    If you are looking for an audiobook, try this one!

  3. I love this series, and can't wait for my kids to be older.
    And for the adult version check out the Fables comic book. That's really fun to read, but definitely not for kids (some nudity, violence, and generally not made for kids).

  4. We read Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris this summer, and my kids loved it, yet I found it one of the more tedious read alouds I've done. They found it extremely engaging and liked the characters while I thought it a bit jerky, with too many slightly unbelievable scenarios to get past.

    I've given this series to my daughter, who was a little lukewarm with it, but she didn't elaborate much. "It was okay," she said. And yet it looks so sumptuous.

  5. My husband, my older son, and I all listened to this on a vacation two summers ago. We loved it. I agree that sometimes the writing is a little clunky, but there are great moments of dialogue. The series gets even better as you go along, and the characters grow and change.

  6. My in-laws raved about this series, so between the two of you, I'll put it on hold.

  7. Yeah, this book was good, and Sabrina was great. However, as most series go, after the first book, it went downhill fast. I especially hated how much it focused on Puck when Sabrina was supposed to be the protagonist, and how little Sabrina really did. I don't recommend the series to anyone.