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Book Review

This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family Thriving Family, a marriage and parenting magazine. It is the first book in the "Sisters Grim" series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Orphans Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are sent to live with their eccentric grandmother, who they thought was dead, in Ferryport Landing, N.Y. Eleven-year-old Sabrina thinks the tiny town is strange and boring, especially after living in New York City. Seven-year-old Daphne is guileless and possesses a tremendous sense of adventure. She immediately hits it off with Granny Relda and Mr. Canis, the tall, skinny old man who is Granny's caretaker. The sisters were mistreated in foster homes during the previous 18 months, and Sabrina, who is jaded from the experience, is at first unwilling to trust Granny Relda — or even believe she is their grandmother.

The girls are fascinated with Granny Relda's quirky house in the woods. They soon learn that half the inhabitants of the tiny town are Everafters, or characters from classic children's fairy tales and stories, such as Snow White, Prince Charming, the three pigs and the Big Bad Wolf. The Everafters can change into human form. The girls meet Puck, the Trickster King or Prince of the Fairies, whom their grandma has adopted as her own son.

Because of a spell placed on Ferryport Landing years previously by a witch and the girls' great-great-great-great-grandfather, who was one of the famous Brothers Grimm, the immortal Everafters cannot leave the town as long as a member of the Grimm family is alive. This, of course, makes most of the Everafters antagonistic toward the Grimms, although they harbor a certain amount of respect for them due to the role as peacemakers that the Grimms play in the community.

Along with their grandmother, the girls solve a mystery involving a giant who is running loose in the town and creating havoc. Their investigations first lead them to believe that Mayor (Prince) Charming has lured the giant to Ferryport Landing to help him carry out his plan to stockpile property in an attempt to rebuild his kingdom. However, they learn that it was Jack (of beanstalk fame), who made it possible for the giant to climb down a beanstalk. He wanted to kill it, regain his fame and then expose the truth about the town to the outside world. With help from Mr. Canis, who is the Big Bad Wolf, and Puck, the Grimms thwart Jack's plan.

Christian Beliefs

None

Other Belief Systems

The Everafters are immortal and are able to perform magic. Ichabod Crane states that he has seen the Devil.

Authority Roles

Ms. Smirt, the girls' social worker, perfectly fits the negative stereotype of the institutional, uncaring, government supervisor. She seems to hate children and does everything within her power to discourage the girls. Granny Relda, on the other hand, is everything a child would want in a grandmother: loving, kind, fun, full of adventure, a great cook and fiercely loyal.

Profanity/Violence

Characters — both adults and children — occasionally call each other names, such as idiot or stinky freak.

Ms. Smirt is known for pinching kids and leaving them with purple bruises. During their first night at Granny Relda's, a swarm of flying pixies attacks the girls, biting them and leaving their hands and ears and noses covered in blood.

Three thugs assault the girls, their grandmother and Mr. Canis. Daphne kicks one of them in the shin, and Granny Relda hits one on the head with her book-filled bag. Mr. Canis grabs two of the men by the throat and lifts them off the ground before throwing them across the concrete ground where they bump and bounce along the pavement.

Puck captures Sabrina, ties her hands behind her back and threatens to push her off a diving board by thrusting a sword in her back. He later claims it was all a joke. The girls read journal stories about giants who ate people. A giant wreaks havoc as he chases the girls and Puck through the town while they ride on Aladdin's magic carpet.

The girls obtain Dorothy's slippers (The Wizard of Oz) from the Man in the Mirror, and he tells them to be careful because there are people who would slit their throats to get them. Three witches attack the giant, firing lightning from their wands, which results in charred black smears on his face. The giant roars in pain.

The girls' dog, Elvis, is wounded, and they find him lying in a puddle of blood. In an intense scene, the giant chases the girls, while Jack is simultaneously shooting at them with arrows. Sabrina kills the giant with the sword Excalibur. Jack and the Big Bad Wolf fight to the death. Jack seems to be winning until Puck commands his swarm of pixies to attack Jack. They sting him until blood leaks out of his body. The specter of death permeates the story, even if the characters seem to be joking about it part of the time.

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

There is one instance of mild sensuality: Sabrina's heart races when she first meets Prince Charming because he is the best-looking man she has ever seen.

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

Alcohol: During a fundraising ball at the Mayor Charming's mansion, adults, animals and monsters mingle and drink champagne.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

8 to 12

Author

Michael Buckley

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Amulet Books

Released

On Video

Year Published

2007

Awards

Unknown

Reviewer

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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