The Sisters Grimm: Tales from the Hood, by Michael Buckley

Tales from the Hood, the sixth entry in Michael Buckley’s impishly funny Sisters Grimm series, is just as enjoyable as its predecessors—but the increasing darkness and complexity of the Sisters Grimm world has us wondering if Buckley is losing control of his own mythology.

Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are facing disaster. Beloved family friend Mr. Canis has been put on trial for crimes he committed during his time as the Big Bad Wolf, and he’s facing a kangaroo court of “Everafters” presided over by the Mad Hatter. Mr. Canis’s friendship has kept the supernatural residents of Ferryport Landing (led by the vicious Queen of Hearts and her henchman, the Sheriff of Nottingham) from attacking the human Grimm family, but each bit of testimony increases his desire to pay for past sins. The Grimms are determined to save their friend, but Mr. Canis may not want to be rescued...

Tales from the Hood features all the normal Sisters Grimm charms: illustrations and cover art by the always-awesome Peter Ferguson, plenty of Puck jokes (the Trickster King has moved in with Grimm family and fallen in love with Sabrina, much to her horror), and more fairytale- and literature-inspired silliness than you can shake a stick at. In the following scene, Puck, Sabrina, and Daphne visit the local librarian:

Puck leaped into the air. His wings kept him high above the piles of books. He darted around the librarian like an annoying gnat.

"You’re a scarecrow," he said.

"Actually, I’m the Scarecrow, accomplished thinker, former Emperor of Oz, and head librarian of the Mid-Hudson Public Library."

Puck eyed the man closely. "But you’re made of hay, right?"

"Yes, and a brain. The great and terrible Oz gave it to me before he flew away in his balloon."

"Someone gave you a brain?" Puck asked. "I’m actually jealous. Whose was it before you got it?"

"I’m not sure what you mean," the Scarecrow stammered.

"The brain! Oz had to have gotten in somewhere. I bet it was a deranged killer’s. Those are the easiest to get."

The Scarecrow stifled a scream. "My brain was brand-new!"

"As if!" Puck said. "I know Oz and he never bought anything that wasn’t on sale. I’m sure your brain is secondhand."

Unfortunately, Buckley’s universe is beginning to raise questions he may not want to answer. Younger readers might not worry about stuff like the age difference between Puck and Sabrina (about, oh, 4,000 years), or fret over the increasing darkness of Sabrina’s character (She steals stuff! And then lies about it!), but these are the kind of things that register with adults. As Buckley introduces more complicated issues into the Sisters Grimm world, he has two choices: he can ignore the darker implications of the story he’s telling, or he can take his series in a more thoughtful, Fables-esque direction. The Sisters Grimm series has always been the kind of story that appeals equally to children and grown-ups—and we’re definitely planning to keep reading—but future installments in the series may not bear close inspection.

Posted by: Julia, Last edit by: Julianka


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