Did you read fairy tales when you were young? Do you remember how to use seven-league boots? What could happen if you looked in a magic mirror? What using a mermaid’s comb might cause to happen?
If you do, then The Grimm Legacy, by Polly Shulman, is the book for you!
* * *
Elizabeth Rew is on her way to her new school one morning, in a very bad mood, and late. Right outside the school, she bumps into an elderly homeless woman. Even though she’s in a hurry, Elizabeth notices that in the middle of a snowstorm, the woman is wearing only sandals. She offers her gym sneakers and her extra socks to the woman. Elizabeth’s history teacher, Mr. Mauskopf, sees the gesture as he ushers her in to school.
In Mr. Mauskopf’s class, Elizabeth chooses to do a report on The Brothers Grimm. Her classmates think she’s nuts, but Mr. Mauskopf seems pleased. The next day, he tells her about a job opportunity he thinks she’d enjoy. Elizabeth needs the extra money, so she goes to see what the job entails.
And that’s how Elizabeth ends up a page in the New-York Circulating Material Repository. It’s a library, but what a library! There are some books, but most of the collection is objects–Marie Antoinette’s wig, authentic Shakespearean era doublets, tea services made by Paul Revere. There are several levels to the library, and messages are sent between floors by a series of pneumatic tubes. Very cool.
Her fellow pages are an interesting mix: basketball star Marc, beautiful Anjali and sullen Aaron. There’s a strange feeling of tension between all of them, but individually, they seem to accept her. There seem to be many secrets in the Repository though; before Elizabeth has been there a week, she’s learned that the girl she’s replaced has gone missing, there are rumors of a huge bird preying on staff, and she hears about some very interesting collections she’s not yet allowed to see…one of them being the intriguingly named Grimm Collection.
When Elizabeth is entrusted with the secret of the Grimm Collection, it changes her life. But will it be for the better? Or are she and her new friends in terrible danger?
* * *
I absolutely adored The Grimm Legacy! The premise was unusual, Elizabeth was a strong heroine, and her friends were each individuals. Although I love my library, like Elizabeth, I think I’d jump at the chance to work at the New-York Circulating Material Repository! Who wouldn’t want to touch something that’s been treasured for hundreds of years…especially if it’s the basis of a well-known story.
I really hope that there’s a sequel to this book. Aaron mentioned the Wells Collection, so there are definitely more mysterious collections contained in the building. More chances for something to happen to Elizabeth and Anjali? I guess we’ll have to wait and see…
Recommended for kids and teens who like fairy tales and mysteries. Although Elizabeth is supposed to be a high school student, this is a solid choice for kids from fifth to ninth grade. (Or a little older or younger, depending on the reader and the interest.)
Check it out! My guess is that you’ll really like it.