The Sisters Grimm Series

Book review by
Barbara Schultz, Common Sense Media
The Sisters Grimm Series Book Poster Image
Fascinating fractured fairy tales grow darker, tenser.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Readers of the Sisters Grimm Series will become familiar with characters and plot devices from nursery rhymes and classic fairy tales (if they're not already).

Positive Messages

In many classic fairy tales, damsels in distress must be rescued by charming princes. The Sisters Grimm books show that girls can be heroes, too.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Daphne and Sabrina's grandma, Relda Grimm, teaches the girls survival skills -- both practical and magical. A family friend, Ernest Hamstead (one of the Three Little Pigs), sets a great example by being loyal, honest, and true.

Violence

Sisters Grimm includes fairy tale-type violence (death by giant spider), archaic weaponry (battles fought with spears), and more modern forms of destruction (bombs and explosions). Throughout the series, The Scarlet Hand (a society that wants to take over the human and fairy tale worlds) leaves a menacing, blood-red handprint as a reminder of its evil intentions. There are also incidents of cruelty and punishment to children (pinching, child labor). It all adds up to a thrilling and sometimes disturbing atmosphere that becomes increasingly dark as the series progresses.

Sex

As in conventional fairy tales, characters fall in love and occasionally kiss. There's nothing sexually suggestive, but as the series progresses, love relationships become more integral to the plots and more detailed. The sisters' uncle is dating Sleeping Beauty late in the series, for example, and Snow White has an on-again, off-again thing with Prince Charming.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

It's known that a prince -- William Charming, younger brother of Atticus Charming -- drank wine to excess and gambled in his younger days.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that kids love the well-realized, magical world of fractured fairy tales, and girls-against-the-world adventures author Michael Buckley creates in the Sisters Grimm series. The sister heroes of these books live in foster homes because their detective parents have disappeared, making them vulnerable to abusive guardians and members of the evil Scarlet Hand (a society that wants to take over the human and fairy tale worlds). These are very suspenseful stories, with frightening villains and lots of gore-free violence, including spear battles, bombs (a school is blown up with no one in it), and occasionally murder. One of the most frightening characters in the series is actually Little Red Riding Hood-- portrayed here as a psychotic kidnapper. Note that whereas the first three books are fairly light and suitable for 8- and 9-year-old readers, the later books may be too dark for under-10s.

User Reviews

Parent Written byMomma Reads March 25, 2014

Sisters Grimm, Best Series Ever

This series is the best. Not just for my kids, but I enjoyed it as well! The characters are very well built, and lots of family love. Best series ever!
Kid, 11 years old December 1, 2013

Amazing

I am currently reading this series and it's amazing! The fantasy role play is a big part but the actual storyline about the Grimm sisters and there hard li... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byKyrabfftwer February 6, 2015

A Different View on fairy tales

How Michael Buckley does it, I don't know, but his twists on fairy tales we heard everyday as kids is brilliant. There is a little bit of goriness througho... Continue reading

What's the story?

In the nine Sisters Grimm books, sisters Daphne and Sabrina Grimm are the daughters of detective parents, who disappeared before the beginning of Book 1. The girls have been bounced among various foster homes, where they've often been mistreated as servants and scapegoats. They then end up with their grandmother, Relda, who reveals that they're living among Everafters: real-life characters from children stories. The girls also learn that an evil society, The Scarlet Hand, is trying to take over the world, and they need to go through all the Grimms to do it.

Is it any good?

The Sisters Grimm books are full of clever devices and twists on familiar characters. One Prince Charming is a reformed alcoholic. Sleeping Beauty runs a coffee shop. Little Red Riding Hood is a psychotic kidnapper. Young readers will be entertained and fascinated to see these storybook icons in totally different roles, and each well-paced novel is more suspenseful than the last.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the the original Brothers Grimm fairy tales and find out how the characters and stories in the Sisters Grimm series were envisioned two centuries ago. How are these new stories different? 

  • Which is your favorite book in the series, and why?

  • Try writing and illustrating your own "fractured fairy tale."

Book details

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