The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy-Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley is fairly clever, and the first in a series of six thus far (the last coming out this May). Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are sent to live with their long lost grandmother after their parents disappear. The girls discover that they are the descendants of the Brothers Grimm, who were actually not storytellers but historians who documented what they saw. All their descendants have followed the tradition, becoming detectives of fairy tale activity. In the small town of Ferryport, NY the Brothers Grimm managed to contain all fairy tale creatures when it became clear they could no longer live openly among humans. Prince Charming is mayor, and the three little pigs run the police force. When their grandmother begins an investigation and is kidnapped, the girls must figure out how to rescue her.

I liked this book. Children’s fantasy has flooded the market in the last five to ten years thanks to the brilliance of JK Rowling, and I think plenty of what’s out there is derivative or just awful. There are certainly parts of this story that weren’t tied together to my satisfaction, and it’s nowhere near the level of The Greats in fantasy, but overall I was happy to read something different. And with girl heroines. Who are mortal and don’t have magical powers. They’re just smart and brave and have a lot of family resources (like magical creatures and artifacts). I liked the idea, and I’m hoping that Buckley has worked out the kinks in the other books in this series.