The Problem Child by Michael Buckley
Suggested reading level: Ages 9-12
Amber (10) and I read this one together. It’s the third in the Sisters Grimm series, about Sabrina and Daphne Grimm and the grandmother, Relda. They are fairy tale detectives who solve mysteries in and around Ferryport Landing, a town where a lot of Everafters, fairy tale folk, live.
In this one, the bad guy is a psychotic Little Red Riding Hood who has a pet Jabberwocky. Unfortunately the Jabberwocky takes Puck, Amber’s favorite character, out of commission for most of the book.
The girls also meet Uncle Jake, who no one in town aside from Granny Relda seems to remember. Sabrina is drawn to him and his unabashed use of magic. Sadly, he’s addicted to the magic he uses and believes it’s the answer to every difficulty.
“You wouldn’t believe the power! It’s like a waterfall, like the sun. I’m bigger than life, bigger than even the most powerful Everafter. I’m the kind of thing they write stories about.” (pg. 281)
Buckley handles the topic of addiction well and I think Amber got that Jake’s “hunger” for magic was definitely unhealthy. Sabrina is susceptible to it, too, but both realize that using magic always has consequences, that they are strong and competent without the magic items.
There’s actually a lot going on in this book. Aside from the search for Sabrina and Daphne’s parents and Uncle Jake’s arrival, Tehfamily needs to find all the pieces of the legendary Vorpal blade in order to kill the Jabberwocky and have a chance at saving Puck, a quest that takes them under the Hudson to deal the Little Mermaid and into the woods to make a trade with Baba Yaga. The town is in the middle of the mayoral election between Prince Charming and The Queen of Hearts, who is nasty to the Grimms and would prefer them dead.
In a way, there’s too much going on. Little gets resolved, aside from the election. It ends on another “to be continued,” which I find annoying. I know it’s a series, but can we have an ending to each book, please. We’ll still read the next, don’t worry.
This was not the best in the series, but it’s still a fun read. Amber says this is her second favorite series, the first spot belonging to Percy Jackson. Hopefully, we’ll pick up the 4th in the next few weeks.
First published in 2006
#3 in The Sisters Grimm series
Challenges: 100+, A to Z
Our copy was received as a gift and the above is my honest opinion. I am an Amazon associate.