Sunday, February 20, 2011

A TALE DARK AND GRIMM


Review of A TALE DARK AND GRIMM by ADAM GIDWITZ
(review based on an advance reading copy)

This book is both hilarious and morbid...and for children! Rooted in the perspective that middle grade readers are prepared for the true Grimm tales, Gidwitz spins something new, and quite remarkable. Each chapter in this book is a twist on one Grimm brothers story. Don't confuse this with a collection of short stories, though; the plot is connected by the children Hanzel and Gretel, who, for understandable reasons, strike out on their own in search of better parents.

Gidwitz never tries to trick the young reader into turning the page to something more violent than they can handle. The voice of a narrator helps to alleviate any terror with comic inserts, warnings when something scary is about to happen and philosophical interpretations of moments that, while true to the original Grimm tales, might be a little hard for an eight year old to grasp.

True to the real Grimm stories, and not the "happified" versions of said stories, A TALE DARK AND GRIMM emphasizes that light can be found in the darkest places. Hansel and Gretal grapple with betrayal, loss, cowardice, and plenty of twisted characters on their journey, but through this struggle they also find loyalty, love and a greater understanding of themselves and others.

This is a book for brave younger readers and anyone, regardless of age, who enjoys fairytale twists, not to mention a well-written, entertaining book.

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