Born in Akron, OH; married; wife's name Alison. Education: Ohio University, B.A. (with honors).
Home—New York, NY.
Children's book author. Worked variously as a stand-up comedian, lead singer of a punk-rock band, and pasta maker; children's programming developer at companies including Discovery Channel, Learning Channel, Music Television, Music Television Animation, and Klasky Csupo, beginning 1996.
"SISTERS GRIMM" NOVEL SERIES
The Fairy-Tale Detectives, illustrated by Peter Ferguson, Amulet (New York, NY), 2005.
The Unusual Suspects, illustrated by Peter Ferguson, Amulet (New York, NY), 2005.
The Problem Child, illustrated by Peter Ferguson, Amulet (New York, NY), 2006.
Once upon a Crime, illustrated by Peter Ferguson, Amulet (New York, NY), 2007.
Sisters Grimm Books 1, 2, 3 (omnibus), Abrams (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor to Storyworks magazine.
Michael Buckley started writing in junior high, tinkered with poetry and short fiction in high school, and wrote gags as a stand-up comic after graduating from college. His "Sisters Grimm" novels for young readers, which include The Fairy-Tale Detectives, The Unusual Suspects, The Problem Child, and Once upon a Crime, were inspired by his love of the stories collected by German scholars Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm during the eighteenth century. As he began researching other fairy tales to flesh out the world he was creating, Buckley realized how much these original folk stories differed from the Disney film versions he had been raised with.
Buckley's "Sisters Grimm" series begins with The Fairy-Tale Detectives, which introduces eleven-year-old Sabrina and her seven-year-old sister, Daphne. The sisters find themselves shufflng off to another in the series of foster families they have lived with since the disappearance of their parents. This foster home is different than others, however, and the sisters' new guardian, Granny Relda, actually claims to be the real-life grandmother they thought was dead. As if that was not strange enough, Granny's home town, Fairyport Landing, is not what it seems: it is actually the home of fairy-tale characters and creatures, called "Everafters," who live among the unknowing human population. When Granny and her companion, Mr. Canis, are captured by a giant, Sabrina and Daphne have to decide whom to trust in order to save the one person who may know the fate of their missing parents. "Fans of Lemony Snicket will adore this new series," wrote Annette Wells in a Kliatt review of The Fairy-Tale Detectives. While citing some lags in the novel's plot-line, along with Buckley's focus on world building, Booklist contributor Gillian Engberg praised the author's "gleefully fractured fairytales," and a Kirkus Reviews contributor dubbed The Fairy-Tale Detectives a "tongue-in-cheek frolic" featuring "a pair of memorable young sleuths and a madcap plot."
In The Unusual Suspects, Sabrina and Daphne begin school in Fairyport Landing when mystery once again surfaces. After one of their teachers is murdered, the girls learn that their whole school may be in danger. Sabrina would rather solve the mystery of her missing parents, however, and the girl's anger and frustration lead her to discover dangerous clues that may help her solve both mysteries, or may get her into even deeper trouble. In The Problem Child, Sabrina and Daphne face down one of their scariest opponents: Little Red Riding Hood. This familiar storybook character faced a terrible trauma after the traditional tale ended; she was so traumatized by the Big Bad Wolf's brutal murder of her family that Red went insane. Together with her "pet" Jabberwock, the orphaned girl now terrorizes the Grimm sisters. She even tries to kidnap Granny Relda so that she can complete her replacement family, a group that involves Sabrina and Daphne's unconscious parents.
A Kirkus Reviews contributor considered Buckley's second novel "every bit as hilarious and scary" as The Fairy-Tale Detectives, and Kathleen Meulen wrote in School Library Journal that "free-spirited Daphne is a perfect foil for her older, grumpier sister, Sabrina." In Kliatt, Annette Wells ranked The Problem Child "highly recommended," and Tina Zubak recommended the title to readers who enjoy "a bit of dark humor rolled up with whimsy and adventure" in her School Library Journal review. "Buckley has a grand time adapting fairy, folk, and fictional characters to the modern day," wrote B. Allison Gray in another School Library Journal interview.
On the Sisters Grimm Web site, Buckley explained that a childhood surrounded by books greatly influenced his success as a writer. "My parents were not wealthy people but they managed to find a way to get me books even when the checking account was empty," the novelist recalled. "I had more books than the library at my kindergarten school. To be a good writer is to be a good reader, and I had a great foundation to start from." Buckley hopes that his novel series will encourage young readers to explore the stories collected by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen as well as books by fantasy writers such as L. Frank Baum and Lewis Carroll. "Hopefully," he concluded, "the reader will go back to the library or bookstore after reading my book and ask for the classic stories they've discovered in the Sisters Grimm."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 15, 2005, Gillian Engberg, review of The Fairy-Tale Detectives, p. 58.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, December, 2005, review of The Fairy-Tale Detectives, p. 172.
Children's Bookwatch, December, 2005, review of The Fairy-Tale Detectives.
Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2005, review of The Fairy-Tale Detectives, p. 1077; November 1, 2005, review of The Unusual Suspects, p. 1182; March 15, 2006, review of The Problem Child, p. 286.
Kliatt, September, 2005, Annette Wells, review of The Fairy-Tale Detectives, p. 26; May, 2006, Annette Wells, review of The Problem Child, p. 6.
Library Media Connection, February, 2006, Suzanne Libra, review of The Fairy-Tale Detectives, p. 56.
Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September, 2006, Charles De Lint, review of The Fairy-Tale Detectives and The Unusual Suspects, p. 35.
Publishers Weekly, December 19, 2005, review of The Fairy-Tale Detectives, p. 65.
School Library Journal, January, 2006, Sharon Grover, review of The Fairy-Tale Detectives, and Kathleeen Meulen, review of The Unusual Suspects, both p. 128; June, 2006, Tina Zubak, review of The Problem Child, p. 97.
Teacher Librarian, April, 2006, Betty Winslow, "Can You Keep a Secret?," p. 9; June, 2006, Betty Winslow, "More Fantastic Adventures," p. 44.
Powell's Online,http://www.powells.com/ (February 20, 2007), interview with Buckley.
Sisters Grimm Web site,http://www.sistersgrimm.com (February 20, 2007).