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A Tale Dark and Grimm Paperback – August 18, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
Gidwitz's style of addressing the readers and warning them about the terror that's coming lightens the story, moves it along and really connects the reader to the speaker. It's amazing. It also serves its stated purpose of warning the smaller children about impending violence. It's tongue in cheek, but it's also an actual tool to let parents know what's coming up.
I'm a children's librarian, and I'm so excited to get my copies (yes, I ordered multiple, that excited) in. I finally have something cool to recommend to my middle grade readers who want something quick and a little scarier than normal fantasy.
Gidwitz uses Hansel and Gretel as the protagonists of the collected tales, drawing them all together into one cohesive history of these strong, unlucky twins. For the most part, you can assume just about everybody dies at some point, but where it really counts they come back to life. Riot. Absolute riot.
And yet all the while, Gidwitz seems to be communicating this profound wisdom about childhood, and parents, and families, and anything you can think of that's related. I know extremely little about children's literature and especially little about the Grimm's tales, so I can't say much from that perspective. But as an adult, the poignant meditations on growing up, and on what parents can and can't be, struck me among many, many other things.
In fact, this happened so many times that I wondered whether this book is secretly written primarily for adults. I will not be surprised if I return to this when I have my own children, as a guide to their world and my role in it. Highly recommended.
As the asides are mostly short and set in a different type, I suppose a reader could skip them, but I found them humorous and enjoyable.
"He invites girls to this house, and he reaches down their throats and rips their souls from their bodies, and he traps the souls in cages in the form of doves, to let them rot under his eaves. Then he hacks the girls' bodies to pieces to make our supper."
"He threw the girl on the oaken table, and from a nearby cupboard produced a filthy iron cage. Then he reached his hand into the girl's mouth until his arm was buried deep in her throat. Slowly, painfully, and with great struggle from the girl, he pulled forth a beautiful white dove. The dove fought the young man as he shoved it in the filthy cage and slammed the door shut."
"The girl's body was still.
Now you might want to close your eyes.
He lifted an ax that hung on the wall, and Gretel, peering through a gap between a filthy pot and a filthier pan, watched her handsome, wonderful, funny friend hack the girl's body into bits and toss each piece into the boiling cauldron. His blunt butcher's knife rose and fell, rose and fell. He licked the blood from his hands and sent piece after piece sailing into the pot."
Excerpt From: Gidwitz, Adam. "A Tale Dark and Grimm." PENGUIN group, 2010-10-25.
Simply not a book for young children. In fact, it was too much for my taste and I couldn't finish it.
This could have been titled "The further adventures of Hansel and Gretel" as it's these two that the author has plucked out of Grimms' collection. The brother and sister team go on adventures that involve taking a trip to Hell, encounters with warlocks, enchanted forests, and deadly dragons. They are beheaded, drowned in pits of liquid fire, and Hansel turns into a beast boy before getting shot by a Duke. Yes, it's graphic and the author's description of Hell and of the sinners writhing in their pools of fire gave me the willies. What tempers these aspects of the story is the fable like feel and the author's frequent and timely warnings that things are going to get worse, and it's perhaps time for the little children to leave the room. What child will read those warnings and not feel the delicious thrill of anticipation that marks a truly good tale?
Hansel and Gretel show courage, cleverness and above all devotion to each other in their search for grown ups that are good. They show young readers that no matter if your demons live in enchanted forests or if they sit two rows over at school (in the bully section), kids are far from helpless. I loved this book and recommend it not only for kids fifth grade and up, but for adults as well. Crack it open and re-discover the joy to be had in a dark tale. Recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The first thing you will notice about this book is that the author's presence is very prominent throughout the journey. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Stephanie
I enjoyed how there is a dark and twisted side to the fun children stories. Adam Gidwitz is an amazing author and writer.Published 1 month ago by Kyra Andrassy & Michael Flores
Just wonderful fun to read. My child is 7 years old, in second grade. She loved this as did her dad & I.Published 2 months ago by book lover
This is a fractured fairy tale written in the same style as the A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS books. As an adult, I enjoyed reading it. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kathryn Page Camp
This book is a very interesting tale for young and older readers. It is filled with magic, fun, and suspense. One of my favorites!Published 3 months ago by Sami C.