Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

Think you know how fairy tales go?  You're wrong.  Hansel and Gretel run away from home to escape their child-killing parents.  Their journeys lead them though many a violent Grimm fairy tale as they struggle for survival and safety.

This was great.  I can see why the series is so popular.  Adam Gidwitz frankly acknowledges that kids love a little bit of horror.  And he gives it them in spades.  I remember reading the real Grimm fairy tales as a kid.  They are seriously dark.  Nothing like the Disney-fied versions.  Gidwitz uses the characters of Hansel and Gretel to wander through this fairy tale world, becoming part of lesser know Grimm fairy tales such as Faithful Johannes, The Seven Swallows, and A Smile as Red as Blood.

The scary parts are not skipped over.  So that means we have cannibalism, heads being hacked off, souls being ripped out through people's throats, and parent's gambling their children away to the devil and dooming them to hell.  The thread that follows Hansel and Gretel through the story is their sad search for some parents who aren't completely horrible.  Who won't do things like cut their heads off or try to eat them.  A lot harder to find than it should be.

Hansel and Gretel start off as foolish, greedy children, and their trials cause them to grow and change and they are not the same people at the end of the story they were at the beginning.  So not only do we get some great gore, the retelling of classic fairy tales most people have never heard of, but also so great coming-into-their-own story and a steadfast brother-sister relationship.

This series is certainly not for everyone.  Not all kids want to read about scary, gory things.  So fair warning!  This is for kids who like a little bit of horror.

If kids love this (and many will) maybe you can even them to read the original Grimm stories!

1 comment:

  1. My fifth grader loved, loved this book. As perhaps the highest compliment, she has recommended it to all of her friends.


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