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The Fairy Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm, Book 1)

Last updated Monday, January 12, 2015

Author: Michael Buckley
Date of Publication: 2005
ISBN: 0810959259
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jan. 2015

The Sisters Grimm (Book One): The Fairy Tale Detectives introduces us to two orphaned sisters, Sabrina and Daphne, who are sent to live with their mysterious grandmother, Relda Grimm. Grandmother Grimm lives in a strange town in New York State, known for it's extraordinary number of unexplained and unusual crimes. As soon as the sisters arrive, they begin to unravel a mystery that leads to their ancestors' magical beginnings. Sabrina and Daphne learn they are descendants of the Brothers Grimm, who were actually detectives of the magical phenomenon perpetrated by the Everafters, a parallel race of magical beings. They soon discover it is the Grimm family's legacy to keep the Everafters in line and the two sisters are the sole heirs to this challenge!

In this first book in the series, the girls are pitted against giants, who have been rampaging through town in their search for an Englishman named Jack, currently working at the Big & Tall store.

Note to readers:
•  You may want to read the description on the book cover so that the kids have an understanding of the book. Aim to read until page 40; beyond that, the "detectives" begin solving the mystery.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you heard of the Brothers Grimm? Who are they? (They were famous storytellers who collected and published fairy tales in 1812, including Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and many others.)
•  Have you heard of their stories? Which is your favorite?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What do you think happened to Sabrina and Daphne's parents? Do you think they ran away?
•  Do you think Mrs. Grimm is really their grandmother? Is she a good or bad person?
•  Could the fairy tales you know actually be "case files" of the Brothers Grimm? Could some of your favorite fairy tale characters actually be villains?

•  curtly - rudely brief in speech or abrupt in manner
•  quirk - a peculiarity of action, behavior, or personality; mannerism
•  imposter - a person who practices deception under an assumed character, identity, or name
•  crone - a withered, witchlike old woman
•  gaunt - extremely thin and bony
•  hem and haw - to hesitate or falter
•  musty - having an odor or flavor suggestive of mold, as old buildings, long-closed rooms, or stale food
•  dumbfounded - made speechless with amazement; astonished
•  mutated - changed or altered
•  menacing - threatening
•  pixies - fairies or sprites, especially mischievous ones
•  persecuted - treated (someone) cruelly or unfairly especially because of race or religious or political beliefs
•  ambassador - the highest-ranking person who represents his or her own government while living in another country

Craft ideas:
•  Illustrate your favorite fairy tale, but change the personalities of the characters. What would your fairy tale be about? (For example, draw Little Red Riding Hood as the villain and the wolf as the victim. The story could be about a girl who is mean to an animal, but learns that the animal is friendly but lonely and wants a companion.)
•  Write a fairy tale of your own using characters and scenes from your own life--you, your brother or sister, grandparents, neighborhood, school, etc. Make sure to begin with "Once Upon a Time...."
•  Have students complete a word search (provided).

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!