A Tale Dark and Grimm

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

Published: Dutton Juvenile (Penguin Group for Young Readers), 2010

Recommended Age: 10 & up

In a Nutshell: Ooooohh this book is too good!

“Once upon a time, fairy tales were AWESOME!”

This quote from the opening sequence had me thinking this would be another fun fractured novel like The Sisters Grimm, but as in A Tale Dark and Grimm, first appearances are hardly what they seem. Multiple Brothers Grimm tales laced together with thrills and wit, adventure and intrigue. With regular interjections from the narrator (Gidwitz), the reader is taken on a journey with twin brother and sister, Hansel and Gretel, who seem to never get a break in their quest to find a happy and honest home in which to live. In the first few pages their father chops off their heads. Did you just have to go back and reread that last sentence? It’s true.. their father chops off their heads, but that isn’t the end of the twins. They learn that the world is dark, but with courage, perseverance, and one another, they can light the way to their own destiny.

Two reasons why I loved this book:

The first— it’s actually quite modern! Too often in contemporary society children end up taking the role of care taker, looking after their parents, attempting to fix the problems in the household, etc. Gidwitz’s brilliance shines through by linking this modern dynamic to tales from centuries ago (I believe they were written in the 1800’s, no?) into an exciting, relatable novel kids want to read.

Reason number two—  It trusts the reader. There’s no doubt that the original Grimm stories are… well… grim. They are gory. They don’t all have “happy endings” for everyone. And that is okay. Kids can handle a lot more than we give them credit for. Like Hansel and Gretel, readers are capable to endure more than the sugar-coated side of life. In fact, they actually rise to the occasion, or in this case the reading level.

Perfect For: Fairytale fans unafraid to delve into the real Grimm tales, or thrill seekers that don’t mind reading something a little more scary before bedtime. If you’re looking for heart’s true love and shimmering rainbows, this probably isn’t your cup of tea.

Don’t Take My Word For It: Kid Lit Frenzy, Wicked Awesome Books, Guerilla Librarian



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