The Sisters Grimm is a 9 book series written by Michael Buckley and illustrated by Peter Ferguson.
Synopsis (from Wikipedia): After their parents disappear, Sabrina and Daphne Grimm go through a series of foster homes. . . After all of their troubles, they end up in the care of their long-lost grandmother, whom they believed was dead and Sabrina worries is crazy. Soon, the sisters learn that the town of Ferryport Landing has Everafters, living characters from fantasy and fairy tales. Working as detectives in their family business, the sisters Grimm solve mysteries possibly connected to the disappearance of their parents. . . Unfortunately for the sisters, the Scarlet Hand, an evil group of Everafters, seeks to escape from the town and take over the world. A magical barrier created by a witch keeps the Everafters within the town. The only known way to destroy the barrier is to kill all the members of the Grimm family.
My Review: Overall, my daughter and I really enjoyed the series. It was very entertaining to see different spins put on popular fairy tale characters (some favorites are no longer likable, and villains become likable). It was humorous on many occasions, and we laughed out loud. I looked up a lot of information to check on Buckley’s knowledge of fairy tales, and he was correct every time! I felt some books seemed repetitive, but I always found one aspect to enjoy in each book.
Warning of Spoilers
Parental Discussion: The basis of the series is the fairy tale characters are stuck in a town because of a curse. The reason given is Everafters have magical powers, and they might dominate and control society if they leave.
Basic idea: all Everafters are in a type of prison to prevent them from harming society regardless of any wrongdoing.
This can be a great conversation with your child about how far society can go to prevent crimes. You could ask your child if they see any problems with limiting stronger people to a town based on fear of what they might do to those weaker than them?
The Catholic Church teaches, “The end does not justify the means. Thus the condemnation of an innocent person cannot be justified as a legitimate means of saving the nation” (CCC 1753).
With that said, the Scarlet Hand’s leader is malicious and does plan to take over the world with magic; thus, a war is fought. I really enjoyed the means of victory. The villain has never felt love; therefore, he is bitter, angry, hateful, and jealous. He wants others to suffer, just as he suffered his whole life. To end this, the main character, via her magic, shares all the love she has ever experienced with him. It is through this love he can forgive, and the war ends.
I love the overall concept of the book:
- The villain lacks love.
- This lack of love makes him angry, and he wants to be cruel and dominant everyone.
- Someone spreads love to him.
- It is through this love he can forgive.
- All is safe again in the world.
Having two daughters in middle school can be difficult because kids can be mean. I have told my children many times that when someone is awful or hurtful to them, they shouldn’t internalize this hurt or anger. Recognize in that moment the person being mean is filled with anger, sadness, or is hurting.
Mt 12:34 and Lk 6:45, “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
If my children internalize this anger and allow it to become their hurt, they will only pass it on to those around them. The cycle of hate needs to be broken by actively not allowing it to affect them. This is done by focusing on love. Just as in the ending of this book! I love it when things they enjoy corresponds with what I have been preaching to them.
What is love?
John tells us the relationship between love and God. John doesn’t write: God loves us. John doesn’t write: God is loving.
John continues in 4:16, “he who abides in love, abides in God, and God in him.”
We need to focus on the Great Commandment given by Jesus, which is in three gospels: Mt 22:34-40, Mk 12:29-31, and Lk 10:27-28.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
Many times in society, we are told if we are hurting, angry, struggling, or stressed, we need to focus more on ourselves. I see self-love quotes daily. In the past two days, I have read:
Your greatest responsibility is to love yourself and to know you are enough.
Your soul will never be fully nourished by anyone’s love but your own.
These are WRONG!
We will never be happy focusing on ourselves. All this self-love is a recipe for depression. Love does not come from the self. It comes from God.
Not once in the bible are we told to love or focus on ourselves.
The first step to end the anger and hurt is to focus on God. When we focus on God, we learn of His concern for what is going on in our lives, but mainly we will discover His love for us. Once we are filled with His love, we will be compelled to spread it to our neighbors. Love of neighbor is inseparable from love of God (CCC 1878).
Jn 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
Fulton Sheen once said, “When a man falls in love with God, he immediately goes out in search of a neighbor.”