The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman. New York: G. P. Putman’s Sons, 2010. 325 pages.
1. A succinct evaluative annotation. Plot: [Conflict] Elizabeth just enrolled in a new school and has no friends or money, so she gets a job at the New York Circulating Material Repository where this library checks out materials, items, rather than books. When Elizabeth gets there, though, items are missing from the collection (especially the Grimm Collection where all of the items are magical and are from the original Grimm stories) and previous workers are missing as well. [Rising Action] Elizabeth and 3 other pages (library student workers) start trying to find out who the culprit is that is taking the items out of the library. [Climax] One of the members of the Repository club (Wallace) had been taking the items and selling them to the highest bidder that wanted the magical items. [Falling Action] Elizabeth, with the help of her new friends, were able to stop Wallace and find most of the sold items. [Resolution] In the end, Elizabeth not only had a cool job that involved magic and new friends, but she was able to save the day and find true love. Theme: The themes in this novel include adventure, magic, history, education, friendship, trust, and fairy tales. Tone: The tone in this novel was very serious but also fantasy. It was serious when Elizabeth was trying to figure out the mystery of the missing items, but there was also a lot of magic so it was very fictional and fantasy atmosphere throughout the entire novel. Style: The author’s writing style was really good: she was really good at describing all of the items in the library and what its’ purpose was, why it was in the library in the first place. I really enjoyed the descriptions and the dialogue between the characters. Characterizations: Elizabeth was portrayed as Cinderella at the beginning of the novel, always doing chores for her stepmother while her two older stepsisters were at college. However, she got to live out her own magical world and be the heroine, who was smart, brave, and sometimes fearless when trying to find the culprit and the missing items. Readability: This novel was very easy to read – I got it done in one sitting and I was not confused about any of the Grimm stories featured, even though I haven’t read the Grimm Brother’s fairy tales.
2. My reactions to the book. I really loved this book (although that might be biased because the main setting was inside of the library). I think one of the best strengths is focusing this novel not on the library (because many young adults probably wouldn’t enjoy reading about that) but rather about the Grimm’s Brothers fairy tales and the “props” from those stories. A weakness that might be seen, though, is the same feature: it’s based on the Grimm’s stories. Not many young adults may know any of the Grimm’s stories, so when they read this book they might be lost as to what the characters are talking about when discussing an item. However, I think for the most part, this was a great way for young adults to read about those fairy tales in a new, different way. As for accuracy, the portrayal of the Grimm’s stories is correct, but since they are fairy tales, it’s not accurate overall.
3. Comment on the cover art. I love the cover art of this novel! This is a great example of a person looking at the cover and wanting to read it even though they don’t know what it’s about until they read the extract. It is mysterious, has a little bit of what goes on in the novel, but overall it’s intriguing to young readers, of both female and male genders.