Title: A Tale Dark & Grimm
Author(s): Adam Gidwitz
Genre(s): Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Publisher/Date: Atria / November 11, 2010
Series: A Tale Dark & Grimm (Book #1)
"In this mischievous and utterly original debut, Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm-inspired tales. As readers follow the siblings through a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind (and beyond) the bread crumbs, edible houses, and outwitted witches." -Goodreads
Exactly how many of you grew up reading fairy tales? I know I did and they were some of my favourite stories. So what was it that made them so appealing? Was it that they were whimsical by their very nature? Or was it that they transported us faraway places? Or maybe it was that no matter what, they’d always deliver us a happy ending? For me, it was the latter. If I could count on anything as a kid it was that the fairy tales would, without a doubt, always have a happily ever after. Well, what if I told you, you weren’t told the whole story. You’d want the truth, right? The whole truth? No matter how dark and/or gruesome it was, you’d still want to know? You’re absolutely certain? Good, because Adam Gidwitz gives us just that. In his novel, A Tale Dark & Grimm, Gidwitz sets out to reveal what really happened in those classic fairy tales we love so much.
The Game's AfootIf you haven’t already gathered by its title, A Tale Dark & Grimm is a retelling of an original Grimm story, Hansel and Gretel—only this version is much darker than the one you’re used to. There is blood. There is violence. There is gore. There are no happy endings—yet. We watch Hansel and Gretel as they travel through several other well-known Grimm fables and we learn the sinister truth. Ten short stories make up this harrowing adventure and they feature a cannibalistic old woman, a bloodthirsty boy-beast, the Devil’s trickery and an alarmingly menacing dragon. As I said before, these aren’t your usual fairy tales. These are fairy tales for the twenty-first century. Gidwitz makes fairy tales so much more awesome!
What really drew my attention were the quirky narrations throughout the course of the book. Our narrator uses cheeky, fantastical, well-placed asides to highlight the pressing dangers or grim (pun totally intended) nature in each of these stories, without being patronizing to the reader. Gidwitz doesn’t take these stories lightly and he definitely makes the protagonists suffer, but that’s what’s so brilliant about this book. He teaches valuable lessons and the reason our heroes prevail is because of that very suffering. He shows us the magic and power created for and by children and he stays honest to that through to the very end.
Summary PrognosisA Tale Dark & Grimm is just the sort of story that parents and youngsters can enjoy reading together. This book enforces a strong moral code and does it in a way that is both grisly and exciting. I loved every disturbing, thrilling, funny moment and would wholeheartedly recommend it to those who enjoy their fairy tales with a side of sadism.