Young Adult

Books like Once Upon a Crime

Once Upon a Crime

2007, Michael Buckley


The Sisters Grimm never fails to amuse because of the way it takes famous fairy-related literature and puts a modern twist on them. Far more than the overall plot or even the themes, it is the little moments in these books that make them worthy reads. Once Upon a Crime is the fourth adventure of Sabrina and Daphne Grimm, two children who late discovered their family heritage as the jailer and protector of fairy tale creatures known as Everafters. After spending months in an orphanage and one lousy foster home after another, they were told they had a grandmother—a woman they thought was dead. They go to live with her in Ferry Port Landing, which they soon learn is home to most of the fairy tale creatures they've read about. However, all of these Everafters are trapped in Ferry Port Landing for as long as one of the Grimms are alive. This makes them a less than popular twosome. After several adventures where they solve mysteries and help save Ferry Port Landing, they make their first trip out. In the previous adventure The Problem Child, their Grandmother's ward, Puck, was injured and is in a coma. The only thing likely to save him is to get him back to the Fairy land where his parents reign. Much to Sabrina's disgust, this is in New York City, a place she associates with home and a complete lack of Everafters. While Daphne has been thrilled to take on the job of fairy tale detective, Sabrina still resists. She hates their calling and wants nothing to do with it. She decides the trip to New York will be her final case. She can then concentrate on saving her parents—who are in a magical sleep that no one can wake them from—and return to her normal life. What she discovers instead is that her seemingly normal mother was highly active in the fairy community in New York City and unlike the attitude that Ferry Port Everafters have toward the Grimms, the New York City Everafters honor and adore them. In Once Upon a Crime, you learn a little more about Puck’s family. His story, obviously, comes from William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and it is in this book that you get to meet the rest of the fairy creatures from the famous play. It's one of the things that will delight any lover of classical literature. It's also what gave the book its greatest appeal to my 10-year-old son who has seen the play numerous times since he was five. Puck is also a great favorite of his as it is his final two speeches that were the first he ever memorized. His view of Puck isn't far off from the Puck that is met in The Sisters Grimm—an 11-year-old boy who sees himself as a villain despite his golden heart. While Shakespeare doesn't claim it, author Michael Buckley tells us that Puck is the offspring of Oberon and Titania, a fairy prince who was promised to one of the other fairies. Titania's fairy attendants get much greater play in this novel, with fleshed out personalities and goals. At its heart Once Upon a Crime is a classic mystery story despite being populated with fantastical creatures. It also continues to expose the growing pains that Sabrina is having as she must make a choice between selfishness and service and discover what it really means to be a family. Sabrina is frequently a frustrating character despite being the protagonist because she is so distrustful and resists the route that others—and the readers—want her to go. Nothing ever comes easy for her, but mostly because she insists upon making it difficult. Is this really any surprise when we realize we're talking about a pre-teen girl on the cusp of puberty? Michael Buckley continues to entertain with The Sisters Grimm series. Each offering in the series changes the characters in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. The books are quick reads and I look forward to each new book.

Similar Books

If you like Once Upon a Crime, you might also like: The Hidden Staircase, 13 Gifts, and Tales From the Hood