As regular readers know, I am a fan of creative young adult fiction particularly fantasy. It seems that publishers have given this genre more freedom and thus the books are simply more interesting than a lot of what is being published for adults. These works have the added benefit of being lighthearted and witty. They provide a nice break from more serious reading.
One of my favorites series along these lines is the Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley. They are creative, fun, easy reads, with a touch of suspense and have great illustrations. What’s not to like?
The latest in the series (book six) has recently come out, and Tales from the Hood is a delightful addition to the sister’s adventures.
For those of you unfamiliar with the premise of the series, it is that the famous Brothers Grimm were not capturing folktales and fairy tales but actual history. As the world turns away from believing these stories the magical creatures involved end up sequestered in a sleepy town in upstate New York called Ferryport landing.
The central characters, Daphne and Sabrina Grimm, are long last relatives of the brothers and they end up in the family business: solving the crimes and mysteries of the magical residents of their new home town known as “Everafters.” A group of the Everafters known as the Scarlet Hand, however, resent the Grimms for their role in trapping them in Ferryport. They kidnap Daphne and Sabrina’s parents and put them in a deep sleep. The arc of the series is driven by the Grimm’s quest to rescue and awaken them. Each book resolves a smaller mystery while keeping this over-arching mystery just out of reach and ends with “To Be Continued.”
For more on book six see below.
In the previous book the family’s friend Mr. Canis had turned fully into the Big Bad Wolf in order to protect the girls. The Scarlet Hand, however, took over Ferryport and threw him in jail. Book six finds him awaiting trial with the Grimms desperately trying to save him but finding everything stacked against them.
The plot revolves around the true story behind Little Red Ridding Hood. What exactly happened that day? Did the Big Bad Wolf really eat Red’s grandmother and attempt to kill Red? Was the woodsman really a hero? Not surprisingly Buckley has a creative and unconventional take on the classic fairy tale.
To add a little fun to the mix, Robin Hood and his merry band of thieves are the Wolf’s lawyers while the Mad Hatter is the judge. Besides saving Mr. Canis/Wolf the Grimms also need to track down Goldilocks in hopes that she can awaken their parents from their trance. And both Sabrina and Daphne will have to come to grips with the changes that come from growing older.
Tales From the Hood is another entertaining volume in this great series. Its playful tweaking of folklore and fairy tales contains a nice mix of humor and suspense, adventure and wit, all the while exploring family dynamics and the perils of growing up. It is one of those series that the whole family can enjoy together.
The only drawback is that you are always left waiting around for the next book . . .