Once Upon a Crime by Michael Buckley

(Suggested reading level: Grades 4-6)

Another good adventure for the Sisters Grimm. Amber (10) and I read this together and it picks up where The Problem Child left off. The Grimm sister, along with their grandmother, Mr. Canis the Big Bad Wolf, and Mr. Hamstead, one of the three little pigs, are taking an injured Puck to New York City. Faerie is there and Puck’s family are the only ones who can heal him.

I think this is a series that you really need to read in order. Puck’s injury and what happened to the girls’ parents were explained in an earlier book, but you really need to know what happened to understand what’s going on in this one.

I like Sabrina’s character. She’s growing some, realizing that she can’t control everything and that just because she believed things were one way doesn’t mean they were. She is truly becoming a Grimm, and is not just the whiny brat she started out as. And Puck, when he finally healed and actually joined the story was great as always. I think he’s Amber’s favorite character.

Throughout the series, we’ve met all types of fairy tale and mythological characters. This time around, we meet Oberon and Titania, the wizard from The Wizard of Oz who now works at Macy’s, and Mother Goose. But, since it’s coming up on Christmas, I have to add that we met Scrooge, who was just hilarious.

If the man heard the doubt in her voice he ignored it. “They’re like mice. I can’t get rid of them. Ever since that business with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, all the spirits in the astral plane feel it’s their duty to com and show me how I’ve ruined the holidays of everyone I know. I’ll admit, I was a pain at Christmastime, but since then I’ve been haunted by the Ghosts of Easter, Passover, Thanksgiving, Yom Kippur, the anniversary of the Boxer Rebellion, Bastille Day, Lincoln’s Birthday; anything you can think of! The whole thing has gotten ridiculous. How many Arbor Days could I have ruined? Not to mention Kwanzaa, Secretary’s Day, and the anniversary of the Woodstock concert. It got so bad I was fired from my job at the bank. It’s really difficult to approve home loans with the Ghost of Earth Day Future walking around turning of all the office computers to save energy.”  (pg. 111)

I think that’s one of my favorite parts of the series, how the author takes characters we’re all familiar with and turns them upside down. And it makes kids want to know more about the characters and stories, too. It can be a good introduction to some of the classic stories and fairy tales.

I will say that as you start reading the story, the cover definitely gives away who the bad guy is, not that it matters. The story’s still fun. I’m sure we’ll be reading the next soon.

Purchase at Amazon, IndieBound, or The Book Depository.

The Sisters Grimm #4
272 pages
First published May 1, 2007

3½ out of 5 stars

Challenge: 100+

Amber received her copy as a gift and the above is my honest opinion.