The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy-Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley is a unique novel for middle school students. It has it all! Mystery,
troubled youth, fairy-tale creatures living in the same town as humans and just enough gross descriptions and sly humor to appeal to this age group. Michael Buckley has turned this tale into a series and there are now eight books about the Grimm sisters.
Sabrina and Daphne Grimm have been tossed around from one foster home to another after their parents disappear. A grandmother, supposedly dead, is found and they are taken to live with her. Grandmother leads a very strange life and the girls are quickly drawn into a mystery. There are several Sister Grimm activities you can do with this book. This article has a group project about the main characters and a whole class book review game. A companion article has a vocabulary list with activities.
Small Group Project
Put your students in small groups. You may want to separate students in a certain way (by personalities or abilities) or do it in a random way. For more information about a fair way to assign small group projects: click here. (Write the character choices on the board. Use#4 of the section on multi-function file cards.)
Each group is responsible for doing a presentation about a character from the book. Allow an appropriate amount of time to prepare, based on the abilities of your students and time restraints in the classroom.
Here are the characters:
Sabrina, Daphne, Grandmother Grimm, Mr. Canis, Mayor Charming, Magic Mirror, Jack the Giant Killer, Sheriff Hamstead, Puck
Include the following in the presentation:
1. Basic facts about the character: name, approximate age, appearance, human or fairy-tale character, additional facts of interest
2. How did the character change in the story?
3. What important things happened to the character in the story?
4. Did the reader’s opinion of the character change in the story?
5. Someone in the group should dress up like character. Other group members should decide how to share in the presentation.
Book Review: Game Time!
Divide the class into two teams for a Jeopardy type game. Use file cards to write the categories and dollar amounts and attach them to the board. Contestants must answer in the form of a question.
Who Did it?— Fairy-Tale Switch—What happened to…—Another Word For—Odds and Ends
Who Did It?
He drove Granny Grimm’s car (Who was Mr. Canis?)
He was the mayor of Ferryport Landing (Who was Prince Charming?)
They attacked the girls when they tried to run away the first night at Granny’s? (Who were the Pixies?)
He kidnapped Granny Grimm and Mr. Canis? (Who is the giant)
It kept Dorothy’s slippers and Aladdin’s carpet? (What is the magic mirror?)
Fairy-Tale Switch (You name the human version, student names the fairy-tale character)
Sheriff Hamstead (Who is one of the three little pigs?)
Mayor Charming (Who is Prince Charming?)
Deputy Crane (Who is Ichabod Crane?)
Mr. Canis (Who is the Big Bad Wolf?)
Sabrina Grimm (Who is Momma Bear? She dressed in a costume.)
What happened to….
The farm (What is, the giant stepped on it?)
Grandma and Mr. Canis (What is, they were taken by the giant?)
The castle(What is, the giant destroyed it?)
Elvis (What is, he was injured by Jack?)
The Magic Beans (What is, Jack stole them from the Magic Mirror?)
Another Word For…
Liebling (What is sweetheart?)
Oma (What is Grandmother?)
Courting (What is dating?)
Everafters (What is a fairy-tale creature?)
Opa (What is Grandfather?)
Odds and Ends…
They are going to build an addition on Grandma’s house. (Who are The Three Little Pigs/Policemen?)
They say this after unlocking all the locks on the door to get into the house.(What is “We’re home?”)
Grandma’s meatballs are this color. (What is emerald green?)
He controlled the Pixies that were tiny creatures that stung people. (Who is Puck?)
Aladdin owned this. It helped the girls. (What is the magic flying carpet?)
Your class will enjoy the book and The Sisters Grimm activities that you use to follow-up. The project and game should keep everyone engaged and entertained. At the library, you’ll see students checking out the other books in this series. A homework study article is available, too.