Hello out there, all you in blog land! TGIF.
Well, G & I were supposed to report on the Buckley book together this week, but she doesn't have her homework done, so I'm flying solo here today. G, would you please explain to the class why you are unprepared today?
G: Er, um, uhh ...sorry, Teach. You know I've got a good excuse!
E: Yeah, I suppose. Two sets of page proofs arrived on your desk this week.
G: That's right. My fiction-reading time got taken up by doing the final corrections on my adult novel as well as both of us doing our final read of The Lost Heir.
E: If you guys are unfamiliar with the term "page proofs" or what writers used to call "galleys," these are the typeset pages where you get your last chance to fix any mistakes, typos, etc. before the book goes into the final step of binding and so forth. We are getting really close to The Lost Heir being "born"! Anyway, onto the book discussion of the week... (And further down, we'll fill you in on the fun stuff we got to do last weekend.)
The Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley kicked off in 2007 with Book 1, THE FAIRYTALE DETECTIVES. It is recommended for kids 2nd Grade & Up. In this story, Sabrina (age 12) and her little sister Daphne Grimm receive an introduction to their unusual family heritage from an eccentric, kick-butt grandmother they never knew they had.
Unfortunately, Grandma Relda gets abducted by a GIANT (a very dull-witted giant with poor personal hygiene) and it's up to the girls to rescue her.
Since this is the girls' first time fighting fairytale villains (the destiny and job of a Grimm), they have their hands full not only trying to save their grandmother, but also trying to understand their role in the bigger picture of their world. Along the way they meet all sorts of famous fairytale creatures. My favorite of these were the Big Bad Wolf and Jack (of Beanstalk fame).
The story is fast paced, with clean writing, and a smooth, simple narrative that will keep kids entertained. It was fun to revisit favorite fairytale characters and to see the humorous twists Buckley gave to them--the Three Little "Pigs" for example are the town cops (ha, ha). The tale takes place in Ferryport, a little Upstate New York town where all the fairytale creatures known as "Everafters" have settled.
G: Magic aside, the town descriptions reminded me of the quaint little Upstate NY town where we went to college, E! E and I went to the State University of New York College at Fredonia...
Fredonia is right near Lilydale, a quirky little village near Lake Erie that was founded by Victorian-era spiritualists.
E: Yeah, that's right! I forgot about that. Weren't there two sisters of the late 1800's who claimed to be mediums and held seances and stuff.
G: Yep. The Fox sisters. You can still go there today and talk to a psychic and get your tarot cards read and stuff if you are so inclined. I understand they have big thing goings-on there each Halloween. Mystical folk still live there... You know something, E, all that sounds right up Jake's alley. (Jake is the main character of the Lost Heir and he can see ghosts!)
E: Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
G: Road Trip!!!
G: So what else do you have to say about The Sisters Grimm?
E: The ending was really good. The identity of the villain came as a surprise to me, and I always like surprises in my reading. Also there was a lot of teaser information dropped that sets up the next book in the series. You see, the parents are missing--that's how the girls end up with their grandmother in the first place. They eventually find out in this story that their parents are alive, being held captive. So in future installment in the series, I would expect we're going to see how the girls go about rescuing their parents.
G: Well, don't say anymore than that! I don't want you to give me any spoilers For my part, I got about halfway thru before I was so rudely interrupted. I was really enjoying it. Buckley writes with a lot of charm. I really liked Relda. OTOH, Sabrina had the moody tween thing going, so I wasn't feeling too much of a bond with our heroine at times. She had good reasons not to be the happiest kid in the world, but at times, I just found her a little too negative. She refused to give Relda any amount of trust whatsoever. I did get a kick out of the little sister, though. She was more of a sunny type of character. One thing I really liked about Sabrina was her protectiveness toward her little sister. As a big sister myself, I can relate to that! All 3 of my younger sisters know that if anybody messes with them, they're messing with me. *g*
E: The Sisters Grimm series is already up to Book 9, The Council of Mirrors, which came out April 2012.
G: We've got a long way to go till then, don't we? We're all the way back at Book 2, the Unusual Subjects, which looks cute, too. So, E, tell all the nice lovely people what we did last weekend!!!
E: Sure! Last weekend we went to the Annual International Children's Festival near downtown Pittsburgh. Grownups were allowed, too. They had all kinds of things for kids like face painting, crafts, etc, but we wanted to see Mirazozo.
What is that, you ask? It's a gigantic inflatable piece of art that you actually go inside and walk through. It's full of tunnels and chambers and it's all sewn out of some special canvas. Inside they have soothing music playing and cool lighting effects...
The only downside was that everyone had to take off their shoes so the material it's made out of wouldn't be damaged.
Well, G. made the mistake of looking down at the bare feet of the guy in front of us.
G: I could puke thinking of it. The guy had hoofs for toesnails. Feet like that could be grounds for divorce. SICK. Get thee a nail clipper, dude.
E: LOL. She was so grossed out she couldn't get that image out of her head all night.
G: Ew, I don't want to think about it anymore. MOVING ON. After walking thru Mirazozo, we went to the awesome Drums United "World of Rhthm" concert. It was the first time I ever went to a percussion-only concert, and I love doing things I've never done before. They were Awesome.
E: Drums United combines master percussionists from all different kinds of musical backgrounds from different international styles - Check it out! Here's a taste of their show from their promo vid. I defy you to sit still when you listen to this.
Well, we're going to have to find something fun to do this weekend, too. A Happy Memorial Day Weekend to you all! We're glad this day is set aside each year to pay our respects to all the brave men and women who've given their lives for our country.