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THE GRIMM LEGACY by Polly Shulman


by Polly Shulman

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: July 8th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-399-25096-5
Publisher: Putnam

Fairy-tale and romance devotees, museum aficionados and budding librarians will pine for Elizabeth’s afterschool job. Lonely in New York City, her family straight out of Grimm (dead mom, inattentive dad, cold stepfamily), Elizabeth agrees to work at the New-York Circulating Material Repository. She passes the button-sorting interview and begins work in the stacks, where call slips arrive via pneumatic tubes. The Repository houses historical articles (textiles, wigs, tea sets), including the Grimm Collection, all circulating. Shulman’s prose sparkles describing the Grimm objects’ magic powers (recognizable from tales) and the profound deposits required to borrow them (a “long, translucent, sweater-shaped thing” is “somebody’s sense of privacy”; a future firstborn looks “infinitely vulnerable and undefined, like a thought before you put it into words”). The pages are a multiracial group, but the white librarians unfortunately romanticize the Akan peoples, constantly spouting proverbs from those “great men and women. Chiefs in Africa.” Some structural implausibility pales before vivid sensory descriptions (hexed gingerbread tastes “[s]weet and dark, like roast duck or cedar pencils”) and delightful magical happenings both thrilling and nefarious. (Fantasy. 12 & up)