cover image The Fairy-Tale Detectives

The Fairy-Tale Detectives

Micheal Buckley, , illus. by Peter Ferguson. . Abrams/Amulet, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8109-5167-9

Buckley's imaginative if meandering debut children's book launches the Sisters Grimm series, a contemporary tale starring two descendents of Jacob and Wilhelm. Sabrina, 11, and seven-year-old Daphne, whose parents have mysteriously disappeared, go to live with their grandmother Relda Grimm. This jolly, big-hearted woman resides in a small town on the Hudson River built by the "Everafters," characters from fairy tales who (thanks to a 200-year-old spell) are trapped in the town until the last Grimm dies. When a giant's footprint is found near a crushed farmhouse, Relda tells her granddaughters that whoever unleashed the giant must possess a magic bean (even though the woman "thought we had accounted for all of them"). While Relda and her companion, Mr. Canis, attempt to solve this mystery, the giant snatches them and holds them captive. During the siblings' quest to rescue the duo, they are either helped or hindered by a host of familiar characters, including Prince Charming, mayor of the town; Shakespeare's Puck; and Jack of beanstalk fame, who is determined to kill not only the giant but the sisters—to end the curse. Buckley fills his tale with ample comical flourishes and plot twists, and readers will enjoy identifying favorite characters. Yet the narrative sometimes moves at a sluggish pace. Still, the novel's good-natured inanity and eccentric personalities may well inspire kids to join the sisters in their next sleuthing mission, The Unusual Suspects (0-8109-5926-7). Ages 8-12. (Oct.)