Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Gidwitz, Adam. A Tale Dark and Grimm. Dutton Children's Books, 2010. 252 p. ISBN 978-0525423348

SUMMARY: "Follows Hansel and Gretel as they walk out of their own story and into eight more tales, encountering such wicked creatures as witches, along with kindly strangers and other helpful folk. Based in part on the Grimms' fairy tales Faithful Johannes, Hansel and Gretel, The seven ravens, Brother and sister, The robber bridegroom, and The devil and his three golden hairs."

RISKS: Blood and guts, frightening images, bizarre and disturbing situations.

EVALUATION: Reading the back of the book jacket will give you some idea of what this book is like. But it is also more than that. It is dark and bloody and humorous and self-conscious and completely unbelievable/fantastical. But there is something wonderful and true about it as well. One of the reasons I like this book is because of its uniqueness. It pushes and tests the boundaries of genre and of what makes a children's book. By the end (the REAL end), I am seeing the characters as more than flat individuals ruled by crazy fates, which is how I usually see fairy tale characters. I also really like something I read in the author's acknowledgments, which says "to trust that children can handle it." Now, this all depends on the individual child, but I sometimes think we protect our children from too much when it comes to literature. A second book in the Tale Dark & Grimm series, In a Glass Grimmly, was just published last month. I haven't read it yet, but it's definitely on my short list. I have high hopes for it.

TOPICS: Grimm's Fairy Tales; fairy tale characters; brother-sister relationships

AWARDS:A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year (2010), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee (2010), Publishers Weekly's Best Children's Books of the Year for Fiction (2010), New York Times Editor's Choice Book (November 2010), ALA Notable Children's book (2011)

Ages 8 & up

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