Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Problem Child By Michael Buckley

By: Michael Buckley
Publisher: Amulet Books
ISBN: 978-0810993594
Date: September 1, 2007


This book is about two sisters (Sabrina and Daphne) that live in Ferryport Landing and their quest to find their parents that were kidnapped by the “Scarlet Hand” that is a group led by the homicidal Little Red Riding Hood. Sabrina and Daphne have many dangerous encounters with Little Red and her Jabberwocky (pet kitty) as well as other dangerous fairytale characters such as the Little Mermaid, Queen of Hearts and Baba Yaga just to name a few in this fast-paced adventure.


This book is full of action that starts in the beginning that helps get the reader addicted. For example, one of my favorite parts of the book that had an interesting twist was when Sabrina, Daphne and Uncle Jake had a run in with the Little Mermaid. The Little Mermaid was a jilted lover that turned to food for comfort which in turn added to a significant weight problem and her hatred of the “topsiders” (humans). Another part that was interesting in my opinion was when the girls came across the medical records at the Ferryport Landing Asylum that included diagnosis for the Mad Hatter (schizophrenia), Chicken Little (panic attacks), Hansel (eating disorder), White-Rabbit (OCD), the Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe (exhaustion), Ichabod Crane (night terrors) and Little-Red Riding Hood (psychosis with homicidal tendencies). I felt the author did a great job at keeping the reader hooked. I also like the small amount of pictures that were used to accompany some of the text entries. For example, the picture of Sabrina looking into the bathroom mirror to see the artwork Puck had left on her face was funny. I valued the descriptive detail the author gave during some of the events. For example, when the sisters and Uncle Jake went to see Baba Yaga, the detail of the human bones all over her pathway and house due to her cannibalism was accurate in giving the reader the fear factor of the dangers that could happen to them.

Potential Use:

This book would be used for leisure reading purposes. This book could be assigned as a mystery/fairytale assignment in an educational environment or could be part of a fairytale display in a library.

Reader Appeal:

The action element of this book helps to keep the readers attention and the storyline itself is very interesting. I feel the idea of “happily ever after” fairytale characters displaying a dark side can appeal to potential readers. The handfuls of pictures presented throughout the book are full of detail and are eye-catching.

Other Information:

This book is part of a series. This series has received many honors such as the Kirkus Best Fantasy Book award and is also a New York Times bestseller.

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