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A Tale Dark and Grimm Paperback – August 18, 2011 by Adam Gidwitz (Author)

The first thing you will notice about this book is that the author’s presence is very prominent throughout the journey. He’ll interject, he’ll muse, and he’ll even make you laugh from time to time. I like how this method allows the book to differ from the usual YA fiction I usually read, but I’ll admit that Gidwitz can sometimes disrupt and distract. But putting that aside, I’m impressed with how in tune he is to the traditions of fairy tales in terms of technique: the hero’s journey, the rule of 3’s, and repetition. More importantly, I love how the theme of the story is presented without a drop of didacticism often inherent in fairy tales; that it’s about believing in a child’s strength in the face of trial and despair, despite their age or experience. Check it out!

From School Library Journal Gr 3 Up–Starred Review. With disarming delicacy and unexpected good cheer, Gidwitz reweaves some of the most shocking and bloody stories that the Brothers Grimm collected into a novel that’s almost addictively compelling. He gives fair warning that this is no prettified, animated version of the old stories. “Are there any small children in the room now?” he asks midway through the first tale, “If so, it would be best if we just…hurried them off to bed. Because this is where things start to get, well…awesome.” Many of humanity’s least attractive, primal emotions are on display: greed, jealousy, lust, and cowardice. But, mostly it’s the unspeakable betrayal by bad parents and their children’s journey to maturation and forgiveness that are at the heart of the book. Anyone who’s ever questioned why Hansel and Gretel’s father is so readily complicit in their probable deaths and why the brother and sister, nonetheless, return home after their harrowing travails will find satisfying explanations here. Gidwitz is terrifying and funny at the same time. His storytelling is so assured that it’s hard to believe this is his debut novel. And his treatment of the Grimms’ tales is a whole new thing. It’s equally easy to imagine parents keeping their kids up late so they can read just one more chapter aloud, kids finishing it off under the covers with a flashlight, and parents sneaking into their kids’ rooms to grab it off the nightstand and finish it themselves.–Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NYα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. –This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

A Tale Dark and Grimm Paperback – August 18, 2011 by Adam Gidwitz (Author) Review

A Tale Dark & Grimm is a middle school novel by Adam Gidwitz. Another novel suggested by the beautiful Emily that I decided to pick up when we were in New York last spring for our mission trip. It’s a fairy tale gone wrong in all the oddest ways. You may think you know Hansel and Gretel, but you have no idea. This story follows Hansel and Gretel as they battle their way through gory fights, menacing witches, and all sorts of fairy tale beasties. The story is interspersed with asides from the narrator, which I found interesting, but totally distracting. I was also shocked by the gore found in a novel for middle schoolers. Definitely gross at some points. Mostly I found it as somewhat cute, but nothing special. Which is odd because you know me and fairy-tale rewrites! It was alright, but I wasn’t interested enough to keep reading the series. -Sarah -Read Reviews-

"Once upon a time, fairy tales were awesome. "With an opening line like that, how could you doubt the creative mind of novelist Adam Gidwitz? I read A Tale Dark & Grimm over the summer with my class of third graders, and though I had some reservations about some of the content, they all proved my worry wrong by handling it with maturity and desperation. Desperation for the next chapter of course. End of the day discussions were monopolized by debates regarding Hansel and Gretel’s fate, and predictions of where their adventures would lead them next. Though the characters faced trials of greed, lust, and hate; the students were learning lessons of bravery, selflessness, love, honor, and forgiveness through Hansel and Gretel’s actions. My students thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I look forward to reading the rest of Adam’s tales. This novel proves that creative writing still exist. Those of the fainthearted variety, steer clear.

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