Friday, June 23, 2006
Book Review: The Sisters Grimm
Daphne and Sabrina are orphans, bouncing from one foster home to another. Then they discover that they have a living grandmother that they knew nothing about. Not only that, but they are descended from the famous Brothers Grimm, whose fairy tales were actually books of history! The Grimm family has always kept the peace between the fairy tale characters, who call themselves Everafters, and the humans. Now it's time for Sabrina and Daphne to join the family business as fairy tale detectives.
In book 1, The Fairy-Tale Detectives, Sabrina and Daphne set out to rescue their grandmother when she is kidnapped by a giant. In the second book, The Unusual Suspects, Sabrina and Daphne find out that even fairy tale detectives have to go to school. Things go from bad to worse when Sabrina's teacher is murdered, and the girls begin to suspect that something sinister lurks at Ferryport Landing Elementary. And in the third book, The Problem Child, Sabrina is determined to rescue her parents from a psycopathic Everafter and her monstrous pet. But Sabrina has to learn that magic always comes with a price.
The Sisters Grimm books are a wild and wacky romp through the land of once upon a time. They're a lot of fun to read, and it's really funny to see how the various fairy tale characters fare in the modern world. The series gets better as it goes along. The Problem Child (book 3) was so funny in parts that I kept laughing out loud while reading it during breakfast; my husband started glaring at me over his newspaper, a sure sign that I had exceeded the acceptable limit for loud laughing during breakfast. And the books aren't just funny; there's plenty of excitement, too.
I do agree with Michele at Scholar's Blog about the characters: they're a little flat, and Sabrina's constant anger gets old after a while. (Although, as the parent of an almost-6th-grader, I'm beginning to see that Buckley may have gotten the anger thing right) I did see some signs of growth for Sabrina in the third book, though, so I'm hoping that in book 4 we'll see a different side of her. But all in all, Michael Buckley has created a funny, exciting series that is sure to appeal to middle-schoolers.
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Sheila, I'll hang on for the third book, then, and give the series another chance if you feel that the third book is better than the first two were. (I confess it's a long time since I was the age of a 6th grader, so that may be why I have less sympathy with Sabrina !)
I think the series does appeal more to middle schoolers than to adults, but I enjoy seeing the characterization of the Everafters in the modern world. The third book has one extended scene which is a gathering of the Everafters, and I just really found it funny.
Do you have middle school in the UK? I confess I don't know how your school system breaks down. Middle school in the U.S. is 6th to 8th grades, which is roughly 11 to 13 year-olds.
Schools in the UK are darned confusing ! Some counties (similar to your states, but much smaller) operate a three tier system: primary, middle and secondary school, others (including the county of Gloucestershire where I grew up) simply operate the two tier system: primary (ages 5 - 11) and secondary (ages 11 - 16/18). But of course, in addition that, you have Public schools (which are really private, fee paying and usually old - Eton, Harrow, Rugby, to name the three most famous ones). Plus at secondary level, some schools are grammar schools (which I went to), where the emphasis is on academic study and traditions abound there nearly as much as in the Public schools, and the other schools are not grammar schools and tend to concentrate more on the vocational qualifications - but New Labour is trying to break down those differences...
Since I'm not buying (only borrowing) the Sisters Grimm series, I'll give the third one a chance...
You're right, that is confusing! Thanks for clarifying.
You're welcome !
Personally I can never work out to what ages the American schools' grades apply !
I really enjoyed the first two books of The Sisters Grimm. I imagine the everafter characters would be enchanting on film. My daughter, age 11, was impressed by the "10th Kingdom" a film which exhibited a similar everafter theme. I look forward to reading the third book. I had not yet come across "The Problem Child".
Wow, another 10th Kingdom fan! I thought we were the only ones who watched it! We watched the original miniseries and then bought the DVD when it came out. My almost-11-year-old son loves it, too!
I love this series, and agree that Sabrina is very flat... Puck, on the other hand is hilarious and gets better as it goes along.
Cool! If you like the series, you may want to come chat with the author, Michael Buckley this coming Sunday:
wow! this book is so kool. it helped me with me report.
Book #1 is ok, I have read better series and I probably wont read the secound book of these. and yes, Im a 6th grader girl (you can tll because I used and at the begging of a sentence). lol
If u want a good book look up the Feak series of Darren Shan
I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy book 1, Sierra. You should try book 2; the series gets better as it goes along. And, it's ok to use 'and' at the beginning of a sentence, as long as it's a complete sentence and not a fragment. But, you do have to capitalize it if it's the first word of the sentence. And, if your teacher tells you not to, then you probably shouldn't use it in your school papers, or you might get down-graded. ;-)
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