A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
Published by Penguin, Young Readers Group
“Follows Hansel and Gretel as they walk out of their own story and into eight more tales, encountering such wicked creatures as witches, along with kindly strangers and other helpful folk. Based in part on the Grimms’ fairy tales Faithful Johannes, Hansel and Gretel, The seven ravens, Brother and sister, The robber bridegroom, and The devil and his three gold hairs.”
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“You see, to find the brightest wisdom one must pass through the darkest zones. And through the darkest zones there can be no guide. No guide, that is, but courage” – quote from the book.
“A Tale Dark and Grimm” by Adam Gidwitz is just as the title says, dark and grimm, but it does leave out the most important word of all – fabulous! A retelling of the wonderfully gory fairy tales written (and some inspired) by the Brothers Grimm; this new tale certainly doesn’t leave out any of the gory bits. Admittedly, I have not read all of the originals, which I now plan to do, but you don’t have to have a ounce of knowledge of those original, gruesome tales in order to appreciate and enjoy this new and just as gruesome one.
It was great adventure following Hansel and Gretel around as they traveled from place to place looking for a place they could call home and for parents that would take care of them as parents should take care of their children – a place with a feeling of safety that was truly that and not just make believe. The reader really gets to see the two siblings grow from scared children into more confident, slightly older children, that have seen a lot. Both of them are extremely brave and loyal to each other.
Hansel and Gretel were both characters I could really feel for. The trials that were put before them were bloody and violent from the cutting off of fingers to people boiling in pits of agony. You are warned at the very being of the book that it is going to be a difficult journey filled with plenty of horrible things, so if you are of the weak of stomach or do not like the way the originals are told (if you have read them), or stories were people cut off their fingers or boil in pits of agony is not your thing than I suggest you look for a different book. This is certainly no Disney movie (more like The Brothers Grimm movie where the kitten was kicked into the blender, but don’t worry no kittens were kicked into blenders in this book). However, if you are looking for a wonderfully crafted retelling of the Grimms’ fairy tales and you don’t mind a fair bit of blood and gore, and a strong dose of pain, than this story may just be for you.
There was a narrator who constantly broke into the story to tell us their thoughts or warn us about things and it was a brilliant idea! The cover is also absolutely wonderful and very fitting (look above). The only problem I had with the book was very slight and it was that I felt Gretel was just a little more developed and focused on than Hansel, but it is said that girls mature faster then boys. I’m hoping to see more of Adam Gidwitz’s writing.