Worth the Candle

The Fairy-Tale Detectives Cover Image
By Michael Buckley, Peter Ferguson (Illustrator)
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ISBN: 9780810993228
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: ABRAMS - April 1st, 2007

Here's our cockamamie critical theory about Michael Buckley and his growing series about the Sisters Grimm: It's all about duality.

First of all, these books fit squarely into two genres: fractured fairy tale and mystery. (Book-report writers are always coming to the store and telling us, "I have to review a book from X genre, but I really only like to read Y." What a friend these writers have in Buckley!)

Second, there are two kinds of people in the book's fictional town of Ferryport-the humans and the Everafters. (Sure, it's a formula-you're thinking Muggles and wizards, aren't you?-but it's a fun formula.)

Third, there are constrasting heroines. Sabrina, the elder, who's responsible, cautious, resourceful and diligent. And Daphne, who's venturesome, open-hearted, clever and patient. (This kind of sisterly yin and yang is traditional-who would Snow-White be without Rose-Red?-but Buckley is especially adept at not playing favorites. Even Sabrina and Daphne appreciate what each other brings to their detective work.) Not to mention all the supporting characters who have dual identities: The lupine Mr. Canis. Mayor Charming. Three porcine policemen. And Puck, a self-proclaimed Villain, who sometimes does something good.

But the books also reflect serious fairy-tale expertise and a devotion to classic children's literature. And there's his persistent sympathy, often expressed by Sabrina, for the Everafter characters, the storybook refugees exiled in Ferryport. Isn't that an exploration of free will?

It seems to us that there should be two kinds of people who would enjoy the Sisters Grimm-but we think everyone would.

Michael Buckley has written a great deal for television, and plenty of sitcom and cliffhanger tendencies are on display in the Sisters Grimm series.