A week ago, I finished listening to the spell-binding audiobook of Chris Colfer’s middle-grade book, The Wishing Spell. It’s the first in the popular children’s series The Land of Stories and has been on my to-read list since I was more “appropriately” within its target age group (even though I firmly believe middle-grade truly has no age bounds).
The story follows twin siblings, Alex and Conner, who accidentally fall through their grandmother’s fairy tale book… landing in the realm of fairy tales. While Alex and Conner were transported to the magic land ruled by Cinderella and Snow White, I was transported back to the fairy tale books that ruled my childhood.
Like most kids, I grew up on the magic of Disney princesses and TV shows of classic fairy tale retellings, but one book series I held—and still hold—close to my heart is The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley.
For me, The Sisters Grimm is the perfect spell potion of a good series. It has it all: a dash of a dynamic sister duo, a pinch of mystery, a sprinkle of romance, and of course–the magical dust of fairy tale characters.
The first book, The Fairy-Tale Detectives, marvelously sets up the backdrop of Ferryport Landing. Orphan sisters Sabrina and Daphne Grimm, who have been jumping from foster home to foster home, eventually land in the hands of the grandmother they had thought to be dead. Granny Relda claims that Sabrina and Daphne are ancestors of the famous Brothers Grimm and that the town she lives in, Ferryport Landing, is inhabited by characters from fairy tales.
As the sisters arrive, there is a mystery afoot, and they assume their new roles as fairy tale detectives. With the mayor as Prince Charming (who else?), an impish Puck who lives in the woods beyond Granny Relda’s house, and the mysterious man Mr. Canis who lives with them, the cast of characters in this book never ceases to bring me comfort.
The Sisters Grimm sparks a magical hint of nostalgia within me. I reminisce reading through Sabrina and Daphne’s adventures for the first time, where I would lay in bed with my lamplight and childlike wonder. Peter Ferguson’s illustrations in the book powerfully captivated me, bringing to life the events with a distinct style.
To this day, I reread chapters from one of the books whenever I watch something a little too scary or feel a bit down because there’s nothing quite more magical and healing than a childhood fairy tale retelling.