Monday, October 21, 2013

Book review: A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

get A Tale Dark and Grimm  at Amazon

An update of the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale, where Hansel and Gretel star in other fairy tales as well, to make a story spanning a few years.

Gidwitz harks back to the original, bloody Grimm stories as he shepherds Hansel and Gretel through their own story (the "real" story), and as the main characters in other fairy tales as well (the seven swallows/ravens, for example).

I'd read some reviews on Amazon about how the book was unexpectedly gory. It's definitely gory, but it shouldn't be unexpected. Gidwitz spends a good part of the book breaking into the narrative to warn readers about upcoming scary scenes, and begging - not ironically - parents to not read these parts to their children. Until your child reaches the age when blood, guts and dismemberment are "cool," don't read them these stories.

Since it's October, near enough to Halloween, and I have a macabre sense of humor, I enjoyed the stories. They're part fairy tale, part morality story and part cheek.

I chose this book for the 101 Fantasy Books in 1001 Days, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The characters learn and grow. They face hardship and are strengthened. There are object lessons, both in and out of the narrative. On top of that, it was fun. Gidwitz has a couple of more books in this vein, and I've got them both on my to-read list.

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