Book: A Tale Dark and Grimm
Author: Adam Gidwitz
Published: October 28, 2010 by Dutton Juvenile (an imprint of Penguin Group USA)
The first line: “Once upon a time, fairy tales were awesome.”
Copy provided by: SLJ’s Day of Dialog
Every once in a while, I read a children’s book that’s so funny, so original, and so creative, I rip through it at a voracious speed, soaking up every page in a giddy fashion. A Tale Dark and Grimm is a perfect example of just such a book!
In a witty and clever voice, Gidwitz (re)paints the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel in an entirely new light. Starting with the tale of Faithful Johannes, the ever under-standing (as in he literally stands under) servant of Hansel and Gretel’s grandfather, readers are afforded a first row seat to the winding tales of a distant kingdom. Gidwitz repeatedly warns his readers to beware of the sometimes bloody, sometimes foul, and always awesome events that are to come. And there are plenty of gruesome events. Three talking ravens who foretell a dismal future. A faithful servant turned to stone. A father who cuts off his children’s heads. A cannibalistic baker woman. Seven brothers turned to swallows. A self-mutilating little girl. A boy morphed to beast. The very depths of hell. The devil himself. A fire-breathing dragon. And on and on. Best of all, each tale is interspersed with the optimistic advice and cheeky wit of the narrator. Ultimately a tale about family, love, and the power of forgiveness, children and parent readers alike will relish this wonderful book.
Gidwitz’s comfort in rehashing these Grimm tales appears effortless. It’s hard to believe that this is his debut novel. A Tale Dark and Grimm is a testament to Gidwitz’s promising future as a children’s writer. I will be watching him closely, waiting anxiously to read his next book!
I highly recommend this book to lovers of fariytales, fables, and lands far, far away. Fans of Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, Sisters Red or Sweetly by Jackson Pearce, Beastly by Alex Flinn, or Wicked by Gregory Maguire will love this refreshing take on the “once upon a time” motif!
Awards that A Tale Dark and Grimm has won: