Book Review: A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz is a childrens chapter book that tales the Hansel and Gretel that everyone thinks they know, and weaves ten through a new version of their own story and eight of the other tales the Grimm brothers are known for. The story takes readers deeper into the stories, bringing motives and misdeeds into the light. There is blood, there is horror, and there is hope in the wonder that resides in children. There is an irreverent air that is deeply woven into the story through the narrator's asides, which include warning before the more frightening moments in the story. These are not the politically correct or sanitized versions of the stories that you might be used to, but they are scary and funny while encouraging readers to create their own destiny rather than following the paths of least resistance.

I am a sucker for fairy tale retellings, and particularly when they reflect the dark beginnings of the stories. A Tale Dark and Grimm offers the scares and darkness that was originally inherent in the stories, while offering a deeper look at the whys and wherefores behind them. Such as; why the witch in the gingerbread house started eating children to begin with, or why a father might wish his seven sons to take the form of birds. Hansel and Gretel are well-defined characters, with emotions and strong motivations behind their actions. They take action towards crafting a better future for themselves, and those around them.

The only thing that I did not love about the book was the narrator. The constant warnings to get the young children out of the room, and interjections about sad parts took me out of the larger story instead of setting up what was to follow, which must have been the intention. However, these interjections might serve their purpose more with younger readers, or those that do not particularly care for the bloodier moments that can be found in Grimm inspired tales.

I recommend A Tale Dark and Grimm to all readers that like the darker side of fairy tales. The story and language are accessible for readers around eight and older, though younger readers might want to wait to rread.Those that do not like some scary or bloody moments in their reading should be forewarned, these tales are much closer to the original Grimm takes that any that you might see done by Disney or in  bedtime story collection.
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