In the intensely infernal installment of this fairy-tale detective saga, the sisters Grimm come face to face with their parents' kidnappers. To overcome the machinations of the dreaded Scarlet Hand, the sisters must find a way to reconstruct a weapon capable of killing the Jabberwocky. Not so elementary, but a lot of fun.
And speaking of sisters... book three in the Sisters Grimm series, The Problem Child by Michael Buckley, continues the adventures of 11-year-old Sabrina and seven-year-old Daphne, first introduced in The Fairy-Tale Detectives (PW praised the book's "good-natured inanity and eccentric personalities"), descendents of Jacob and Wilhelm. Here they set out to solve the most important mystery of their lives: what happened to their parents more than a year ago? The search for answers leads them to the most famous fairy-tale character of all. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
If 11-year-old Sabrina Grimm could choose her happily ever after, it would definitely include getting her parents back. Since they were kidnapped almost two years ago, she and her little sister Daphne have had to deal with a lot: foster homes, child labor, and finally being discovered by their Granny Relda and introduced to the family business of serving as fairy-tale detectives for the enchanted town of Ferryport Landing. When Sabrina's mysterious Uncle Jake shows up to help rescue her parents, she realizes she still doesn't know her family's full history, but she'll have to confront it regardless if she has any hope of seeing her parents again. Buckley's book is lively and captivating, and it will appeal especially to readers whose love of fairy tales goes beyond standard animated versions to the stories of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. The book's one struggle may be finding an age-appropriate audience: Sabrina is immersed in not-quite-teenage angst, but similarly younger readers may not be ready to confront the book's evil and overweight ‘Little' Mermaid or its schizophrenic Little Red Riding Hood. Nevertheless, The Problem Child is an exciting, inventive tale. Age Range: Ages 12 to 15. REVIEWER: Cara Chancellor (Vol. 42, No. 1)
In the third book from "The Sisters Grimm" series, Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are pitted against Little Red Riding Hood. Psychologically damaged after seeing her grandmother eaten by the Big Bad Wolf, Little Red Riding Hood kidnaps Sabrina and Daphne's parents. If that weren't bad enough, the Jabberwocky has appeared and causes all sorts of trouble. Aided by her uncle Jake, Sabrina tries to find some magic that can help her with these problems. Nevertheless, she discovers that magic can sometimes be too powerful for the users to handle. While Sabrina's plight is interesting, the true story sometimes gets lost in the mob of fairy tale figures that often show up briefly then disappear into the throng. The majority of fairy tale cameos are interesting and Buckley gets points for using the Hans Christian Anderson "Little Mermaid" story rather than the Disney (resulting in something rarely seen: a fat mermaid!). Ferguson's black-and-white illustrations beautifully accent this entertaining story. 2006, Amulet Books/Harry N. Abrams, Ages 8 to 12.
Amie Rose Rotruck
Compared to the first series book, this one was not as well written. It deviated from its "fairy tale" policy, introducing characters such as Robin Hood, the Jabberwocky, and Baba Yaga. Also the choice of villain was not very believable. The author seems to be going overboard with the "fairy tales are not what you expect." Having not read the second book, however, I was still able to understand what had happened previously. All in all, the author could have done better. This book seems geared for a younger audience than intended. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P J (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2006, Amulet Books/Harry N. Abrams, 304p., Ages 12 to 15.
Sara Garcia, Teen Reviewer
Gr 4-6-Sabrina Grimm, 11, and her 7-year-old sister, Daphne, are still on the trail of "The Scarlet Hand," which has kidnapped their parents. On the way to rescuing them, the sisters meet their likable Uncle Jake, whom they had never heard of before. Granny Relda had arranged for everyone in town to forget him after he inadvertently broke the spell that kept a deranged Little Red Riding Hood in the asylum. The book is loaded with cameos by fairy-tale characters, including Prince Charming as playboy turned sleazy politician. Although they will delight fairy-tale fans, some of the most interesting figures get short shrift. Puck, who combines magic with mischief in a way that both attracts and repels Sabrina, disappears from the action early on. Granny Relda's gentleman friend and every tale's wicked wolf is resurrected only at the end of the novel. Still, there is plenty of plucky Sabrina, nurturing Granny Relda, and Daphne. The end leaves plenty for the next book to resolve. Each chapter starts with a menacing silhouette, and black-and-white full-page illustrations add more macabre details. Recommend this to anyone who is craving a bit of dark humor rolled up with whimsy and adventure.-Tina Zubak, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Poor choreography in the battle scenes drags the latest entry in this otherwise delicious series below par. After a brief but necessary recap, Buckley plunges his two young sleuths into further developments in their search for their snatched parents. These include the appearance of a reckless sorcerer uncle; repeated attacks from a savage Jabberwock ridden by Little Red Riding Hood (here a crazed homicidal maniac in the wake of what the Big Bad Wolf did to her family); and a desperate search for the vorpal blade, which is not just the only way to kill a Jabberwock, but also a key to Faerie. The dialogue ("I'm a fish that talks and you're having trouble with me granting wishes?"), set pieces capped by a nerve-wracking visit to the hut of cannibal and soap-opera addict Baba Yaga and occasional theatrical illustrations from Ferguson are as clever as ever. But the headlong pace too often stumbles over outrageously destructive, lightning-swift attacks that somehow always leave characters time to ruminate, converse or fumble about in pockets for magical defenses. Even confirmed fans will hope for tighter writing in future outings. (Fantasy. 10-12)