The Grimm Legacy

The Grimm Legacy

4.6 174
by Polly Shulman

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Elizabeth has just started working as a page at the New York Circulating Material Repository - a lending library of objects, contemporary and historical, common and obscure. And secret, too - for in the repository's basement lies the Grimm Collection, a room of magical items straight from the Grimm Brother's fairy tales. But the magic mirrors and seven-league boots

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Elizabeth has just started working as a page at the New York Circulating Material Repository - a lending library of objects, contemporary and historical, common and obscure. And secret, too - for in the repository's basement lies the Grimm Collection, a room of magical items straight from the Grimm Brother's fairy tales. But the magic mirrors and seven-league boots and other items are starting to disappear. And before she knows it, she and her fellow pages - handsome Marc, perfect Anjali, and brooding Aaron - are suddenly caught up in an exciting, and dangerous, magical adventure.

Editorial Reviews

Marjorie Ingall
The story buzzes along at a delightful clip…[The Grimm Legacy's] a fun ride.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Shulman (Enthusiasm) intermingles classic fairy tale elements and modern-day conflicts in this clever novel set in New York City. The story begins when teenager Elizabeth Rew lands a plum part-time job, working as a page in the "New-York Circulating Material Repository," an institution housing rare objects to be lent to an exclusive circle of patrons. The most secret and by far most interesting section of the building is the basement, where magic objects mentioned in the Grimm Brothers' tales are stored. Much to the librarians' dismay, however, some of these valuable items go missing. With the help of her fellow pages, Elizabeth gets to the bottom of the mystery, but catching the thief poses enormous danger and necessitates the aid of some powerful equipment, including Snow White's mirror, a pair of winged sandals, and a magical golden key. Mixing tongue-in-cheek humor (like the magic mirror's blunt appraisal of Elizabeth's beauty: "Bitsy Rew is brave and true./ A pity she's not pretty too") with suspense, Shulman conjures an enticing slice of magic realism that fairy tale buffs should relish. Ages 10-up. (July)
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Rew is the new kid in town, feeling isolated and ignored at her private Manhattan school. Her home life is no better, stuck in a tiny apartment with a stepmother who saves all the chores for her, two stepsisters still sending orders from college, and a formerly loving father who suddenly ignores her very existence. No wonder she feels like Cinderella and chooses to write her big social studies paper on the Brothers Grimm—the catalyst for a new life. Suddenly Elizabeth has a part-time job at the New-York Circulating Material Repository, which happens to house relics from Grimm fairytales. Just as suddenly she collects brand new friends from among her fellow workers: Marc, her school's African American basketball star; Anjoli, the knock out gorgeous Indian girl; Aaron, the darkly mysterious protector of all things Grimm. When Seven League Boots, bottomless boxes, magical cudgels and a mermaid comb get loose—not to mention a griffin and a roc from Hell—Elizabeth is propelled through a carnival of fear, excitement, and, possibly, love. She is no longer lonely, isolated, or bored. It looks like Schulman, bestselling author of Enthusiasm, has another winner. Her gothic-tinged mystery/romance is well written, funny, teen-savvy, and virtually unputdownable. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
VOYA - Hilary Crew
Imagine a circulating library from which you can borrow magical objects that appear in the Grimm fairy tales, such as the magical mirror in "Snow White." When Elizabeth's social studies teacher at her new school asks her if she would like an after-school job, she passes the test to be a page at the New York Circulating Material Repository. After proving that she can be trusted with valuable objects, she is allowed into the Grimm Collection. But Elizabeth and the other teenage pages—Anjali, her boyfriend, Marc (a basketball star at Elizabeth's school), and Aaron—become entangled in a web of suspicion and danger when it is discovered that someone is stealing objects from the collection and removing their magical properties before returning them. When Anjali is kidnapped and transformed into a puppet, the friends work together to rescue her from unscrupulous art dealers. A fast-moving plot relies heavily on magical devices, but there are some lovely inventive episodes. For example, Elizabeth and Marc, shrunk by a shrinking machine to the size of soda cans, pack themselves into pneumatic canisters (the repository's communication system) to gain access to a now off-limits Grimm Collection. The mood is light rather than sinister, even when they face arch villains and a menacing bird. There are some loosely integrated story elements, such as the homeless woman who helps Elizabeth. Teens might be drawn into this appealing mix of fairy tale and romance—who can resist a trip on a flying carpet? Reviewer: Hilary Crew
Library Journal - Booksmack!
Miserable at school and at home, Elizabeth seeks employment at the New York Circulating Material Depository, a private library where objects, not books, are housed and lent to an unusual clientele. There her fellow pages inform her of the library's creepy recent history: employees have gone missing, a giant bird has been seen through the building's skylights, and valuable items have been stolen from the collection, only to turn up at auction. Many of these stolen objects were from a very special collection on the first floor, the Grimm Collection. Seems that Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm did not limit their interest to collecting stories; they sought the magical objects behind them. In the collection Elizabeth finds 12 pairs of worn dancing shoes, seven-league boots, and a trash-talking mirror that once belonged to Snow White's stepmother. Shulman's first novel, Enthusiasm (2006), is a charming retelling of Pride and Prejudice, set at a boy's boarding school. Her new story is tailor-made for librarians (and former library pages) who recall that first magical feeling of working in the stacks. Angelina Benedetti, "35 Going on 13", Booksmack!, 12/2/10
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—Feeling left out from her stepfamily at home and from her classmates at her new school, Elizabeth is delighted when she gets a job at the New York Circulating Material Repository, a library that loans objects of historical value. She's particularly intrigued when she's given access to the Grimm Collection, a secret room that holds magical objects from the Brothers' tales, e.g., seven-league boots, a mermaid's comb, and the sinister mirror from "Snow White." However, when the items start to disappear, she and her fellow pages embark on a dangerous quest to catch the thief, only to find themselves among the suspects. This modern fantasy has intrigue, adventure, and romance, and the magical aspects of the tale are both clever and intricately woven, from rhyming charms to flying-carpet rides. The author brings the seemingly disparate elements together in the end, while still making certain that her protagonist's problems are not completely solved by the world of magic. Shulman's prose is fast paced, filled with humor, and peopled with characters who are either true to life or delightfully bizarre. Fans of fairy tales in general and Grimm stories in particular will delight in the author's frequent literary references, and fantasy lovers will feel very much at home in this tale that pulls out all the stops.—Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, formerly at LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI

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Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.00(d)
HL600L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Polly Shulman has written about edible jellyfish, Egyptian tombs, infinity, blind dates, books, brains, centenarians, circuses, and cinematic versions of Jane Austen novels, for The New York Times, Discover, Newsday, Salon, Slate, Scientific American, Archaeology, and The Village Voice, among others. She edits news stories about fossils, meteors, the ocean, the weather, and the planets for Science magazine. She collects Victorian jewelry made of human hair, puts cayenne pepper in her chocolate cookies, and reads forgotten books with frontispieces.

She is an alumna of Hunter College High School, Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics, and Yale University, where she majored in math. She has never dared to crash a dance, but in tenth grade she did write a proof for math class in the form of a sonnet. She grew up in New York City, where she lives with her husband, Andrew Nahem, and their parakeet, Olive.

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