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The Grimm Legacy Paperback – July 7, 2011
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From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 6–9—Feeling left out from her stepfamily at home and from her classmates at her new school, Elizabeth is delighted when she gets a job at the New York Circulating Material Repository, a library that loans objects of historical value. She's particularly intrigued when she's given access to the Grimm Collection, a secret room that holds magical objects from the Brothers' tales, e.g., seven-league boots, a mermaid's comb, and the sinister mirror from "Snow White." However, when the items start to disappear, she and her fellow pages embark on a dangerous quest to catch the thief, only to find themselves among the suspects. This modern fantasy has intrigue, adventure, and romance, and the magical aspects of the tale are both clever and intricately woven, from rhyming charms to flying-carpet rides. The author brings the seemingly disparate elements together in the end, while still making certain that her protagonist's problems are not completely solved by the world of magic. Shulman's prose is fast paced, filled with humor, and peopled with characters who are either true to life or delightfully bizarre. Fans of fairy tales in general and Grimm stories in particular will delight in the author's frequent literary references, and fantasy lovers will feel very much at home in this tale that pulls out all the stops.—Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, formerly at LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Is there a better antidote to a lonely teen existence than a dose of fairy-tale magic? Elizabeth has yet to make friends at her tony Manhattan private school, and she feels equally alone at home with her remote father and taskmaster stepmother. Then Elizabeth's teacher recommends her for a job at the New York Circulating Material Repository, and as Elizabeth befriends the other pages, she begins to learn that fairy tales aren't just fantasy and that many of the special collections' artifacts belong to her favorite childhood stories, including the magic mirror from Snow White. Just as Elizabeth learns about the repository's impossible wonders, some of the most powerful objects, and then some of the pages, disappear, and she finds herself leading the dangerous rescue. Captivating magic fills the pages of this exciting new novel from the author of Enthusiasm (2006). The story occasionally loses momentum, but action fans will find plenty of heart-pounding, fantastical escapades as the novel builds to its satisfying, romantic conclusion. A richly imagined adventure with easy appeal for Harry Potter fans. Grades 6-9. --Gillian Engberg --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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As far as language, humour and pacing, "The Grimm Legacy" reminded me of Delia Sherman's "Changeling" and its sequel "The Magic Mirror of the Mermaid Queen" - but I feel the true value of the book lies in how subtly but powerfully the value of honesty comes through: in the magic, in the adventures, in the challenges, for example, a perceived parental-disapproved romance - it wasn't until I closed the book (read it in one sitting and absolutely will be re-reading) that this very undervalued theme of truth vs. lying and prejudice hit me. In a time where so many students seem to think it's okay to cheat in exams or get something for nothing, it's nice to follow along on the adventures of Elizabeth and her friends as they, in turn, choose the path of honesty. I was particularly touched by how Elizabeth's step-sister was "mean" not so much in the conventional way, but in offering to let Elizabeth use her pre-corrected answer to a class assignment - and impressed by how Elizabeth chose to do her own work instead. Brilliant! But enough from me; here's how said daughter found the book:
"The book, 'The Grimm Legacy' by Polly Shulman is my new all-time favorite book. It was a little adult in some parts so I wouldn't recommend it to a fourth grader. However, I think that six graders such as myself would love this book.
"Lonely at her new high school, Elizabeth takes on a job at the New-York Circulating Material Repository, hoping to make new friends as well as some cash. However, she soon realizes that the repository is no ordinary library. It lends out objects rather than books -everything from spoons to Marie Antoinette's everyday wig. It is also the place where Grimm fairytale objects are stored, from seven-league boots to Snow White's stepmother's smirking mirror that talks in riddles and has a will of its own. However, when someone starts stealing all the magical objects, can Elizabeth and her new friends - the beautiful Indian 'princess' Anjali, super-cute basketball star Marc, and Aaron, the cute and funny, if snobby page - find out who it is?
"My favorite part has got to be when Elizabeth (shrunken by a shrink ray) falls to the ground right next to a huge rat and, to protect herself, she throws her iPod at it and totally missed. Then, she said, 'What a waste of an iPod.' I laughed my socks off!
"I would definitely give this book five big huge solid gold stars: two for the characters, two for the humor and one for the romance."
When Elizabeth starts work, she discovers that the Circulating Materials Repository is unlike any library she's ever seen. Instead of books, the vast building is stuffed full of things. Objects like Marie Antoinette's wig, Shakespearean-era doublets, tea sets, carpets and every other material possession imaginable are housed in the Repository's nine floors of stacks.
Even more amazing are the `special' collections. The Repository is home to a number of secret and magical objects, including those in the Grimm Collection. It seems that when the Brothers Grimm gathered folk tales and legends in their travels, they also acquired many of the magical items associated with the tales they made famous - things like dancing slippers, mermaid combs, and even the Seven League Boots.
Before long, Elizabeth feels a strong connection with both the Repository and her coworkers. She truly fits in and she enjoys easy bonds of friendship with most of her fellow Pages. But all is not well at the Repository. Someone is stealing magical objects from the Grimm Collection and until the thief is caught, everyone is a suspect, including the Pages. On top of that, one of the Pages has already disappeared and Elizabeth's friend Anjali is being stalked by a large creepy bird, of all things. It's obvious the Pages will have to take matters into their own hands if they want these mysteries solved, the Repository returned to normal, and their jobs secured.
Although Elizabeth begins the book unhappy with her new family arrangement and her father's neglect, her attitude isn't overly whiney or self-pitying. In fact, her character is a true to life representation of a teen struggling to find her way in a new family. The idea of the Repository and its special collections is fabulously presented and the story is a fun and breezy adventure with just a hint of romance. There's enough going on here, both with the plot and with the world of the Repository itself, to keep you interested from beginning to end. The Grimm Legacy is well worth reading!
I have always been intrigued by the abandoned subway stations, secret rooms, priest holes and other hidden places, this story appeals to that love.
Most recent customer reviews
by Polly Shulmann
I “borrowed “ this book from my granddaughter’s stash of books from my last visit.Read more