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A Tale Dark & Grimm

March 10, 2011

A Tale Dark & Grimm

By Adam Gidwitz

Published 2010, 192 pages

Synopsis:

This is a compilation of several short stories by the Brothers Grimm that are woven together to create one fluid tale about the famous brother-sister duo Hansel and Gretel.

Review:

The only thing that annoyed me about this book was that I didn’t think of it first.  This book was so clever, so funny, and so cool.  There are about a million original stories by the Brothers Grimm, including, of course, Hansel and Gretel; but there also many other lesser-known tales that are just as creepy and frightening as that one.  This author chose a great selection of such tales and strung them together so that they told one story that starred Hansel and Gretel.  He took liberties with the language, updating it and changing character names and minor details so that they made sense and fit the broader picture, but did so with great style and humor.  Somehow this is an original, modern story and yet still maintains the old-world tone of the original Grimm fairy tales.  I don’t know how the author did it, but I was very pleasantly surprised and I hope he decides to do another similar compilation… maybe tackling Hans Christian Andersen next?  (I’m still haunted by “The Little Match Girl”…I wonder what Adam Gidwitz could do with that one….)

Recommendations:

Admittedly, I’ve been in the mood for dark stories lately, so this was right up my web-strewn alley. I would obviously recommend this to anyone in a similar mood. But I would also sincerely recommend this as a great under-the-covers-with-a-flashlight book for kids 7 to 11 or for anyone who ever wondered “whatever became of those kids in the fairy tales of old?”

There are some gruesome, graphic, violent scenes—about which the author provides ample warning—but then, these scenes were there from the beginning; they were a part of the original tales and I agree with the author that it would have been completely silly to remove them in order to comply with today’s standards of what makes for “good reading” for kids.  I personally think kids can handle a lot more gruesome-ness then we think they can—especially when it’s done in such a fun, far-away, fairy-tale kind of way like this book.

Rating:

4 ½ boots… and I’m eagerly awaiting other books by this author.

From → Book Treks

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