I'm a huge fan of the Goddess Girls series by authors Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams, so when I heard they were not only writing yet another series for late-elementary school readers, but it was a FAIRY TALE RETELLING series (my favorite!) I'm pretty sure the noises I made could most accurately be described as "squeals of joy."
After reading the first two installments, its official: I'm hooked. I'm also half tempted to fly back to NY just so I can see the expressions of pure elation on my little library girls' faces because they are going to LOVE this series.
I'm feeling kinda listy, so here's what you can expect from the Grimmtastic Girls:
1. Four main characters, with each book focusing on a different girl from the core group. The girls all have different personalities and lite issues (dealing with step-siblings, stage fright, etc) so most readers should find at least one character they click with. I think Rapunzel might be the Grimmtastic Girl I connect with the most (honey, I don't like heights either!).
2. Adorable secondary characters! Though they're not the main focus, just enough is disclosed about them to make the world feel like it has depth and life outside of the core characters. I hope the series grows like Goddess Girls did so we get to read about these secondary characters. I definitely want to read Mermily's story (the little mermaid!).
3. The world is fabulous and filled with "I wish that was real!" inventions. My favorite is (surprise, surprise) the library. Imagine a cross between the library in The Grimm Legacy and Hogwart's Room of Hidden Things. And in addition to all the cool fairy tale stuff, it also has sparkly ball gowns made to order! AAAhh I was in heaven!
I also loved the school book. You press a button on the cover, recite a spell, and tell it what text you want to appear inside. And then it does! So it's one book, but it can be any book you want. I know e-readers basically do the same thing, but it seems so much cooler when it's a paperbound book and there are magical incantations involved.
4. Fairy tale retellings. Obviously. There isn't as much meat to fairy tales compared to the Greek gods and goddesses (they got into all sorts of adventures), and that is definitely a limitation. One of my favorite things about the Goddess Girls series were all of the little retelling references scattered throughout each book. The Grimmtastic Girls books have a lot less of that, which is totally understandable, but also a little disappointing.
(Though probably only disappointing to ME, an adult reader. I don't think the intended audience would care at all—I know my library girls weren't even aware of half of the original stories referenced in Goddess Girls, especially if they didn't appear in Percy Jackson).
5. To make up for this, Joan Holub an Suzanne Williams packed in more original material and it is awesome. There's a villain society wrapped up in a mystery (several mysteries!) and missing treasure! So lots of sleuthing, which is always a plus in my book.
6. Did I mention princes (and non-prince crushes)? These are fairy tale retellings, so of course there are boys! And, it's adorable.
7. But, because of the sleuthing and such, unlike Goddess Girls, I highly recommend reading this series in order. The mysteries carry over from book to book with progress made along the way and new questions opening up. While each book focuses on an individual girl and while her fairy tale is mostly wrapped up in her own book, the overarching storyline definitely is not.
8. The vocabulary is surprisingly advanced.
9. "Collect the whole set" events. There are a few recurring things that I found myself looking forward to discovering how it would play out for each character. In this world there are magical objects that are basically trying to find a Grimmtastic Girl who "fits" them. I really got into trying to figure out which magical object would bond with each girl and discovering what magical properties it would bring to the table.
10. It takes place in a boarding school. Do I need to elaborate on why that's pure win?
When it comes to young middle grade girls, Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams RULE. Whether it's Goddess Girls or Grimmtastic Girls, you can count on them to deliver age-appropriate stories with inventive worlds, nifty objects, creative spins on classic stories, and characters that feel real.
If you have a Goddess Girl fan in your life, buy her Grimmtastic Girls and she will love you forever.
Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key
Do you have any questions about Grimmtastic Girls that I haven't addressed?
Feel free to ask in the comments!
Feel free to ask in the comments!
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