Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Book Review: A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

Posted as part of Tween Tuesday, hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen.
A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publication date: October 2010
ISBN: 9780525423348
Source: Library

A Tale Dark and Grimm 

Hansel and Gretel you may have heard of, but there is a lot more to their story than a child-eating witch.  Born to a king and queen who treat them unspeakably poorly, they run away and find that there is a lot they don't know about the world and about parents. 

Things I Liked:
I liked the story, but I loved the side notes.  I think they made the whole book more enjoyable.  They were humorous and alleviated the sometimes repetitive and simplistic fairy tale story writing.  This felt like the perfect read-aloud and I almost wanted to close the book and find an audio version.  I read the first story to my husband and he liked it.  It would be a lot of fun to read to older classes, though I still don't know how young an age group I'd read it to.  (Hey, it does have some scary stuff and quite a lot of "awesome," ie: blood.)  So fun and different from most retellings.

You know how it is with stories.  Someone tells a story.  Then somebody repeats it and it changes.  Someone else repeats it, and it changes again.  Then someone's telling it to their kid and taking out all the scary, bloody scenes - in other words, the awesome parts - and the next thing you know the story's about an adorable little girl in a red cap, skipping through the forest to take cookies to her granny.  And you're so board you've passed out on the floor. [Prologue]
Oh no! he thought. Now I'm cooking for certain! He sniffed at the air.  And I smell delicious!  But he wasn't cooking.  It was three strips of bacon that he'd tucked into his socks at breakfast.  p 46
For a moment she stopped and considered following the rain's advice.  But then she shook her head.  "You're being foolish," Gretel told herself.  "Rain can't talk."
No, of course it can't.  The moon can eat children, and fingers can open doors, and people's heads can be put back on.  But rain?  Talk?  Don't be ridiculous.  Good thinking, Gretel dear.  Good thinking.  p 97
If you are gambled away to the Devil (and this is a matter of public record - I'm certainly not making it up), you are damned to excruciating pain for all eternity, and no matter what you do, no matter how good you are, or how many times yu ask, "Please pretty please with a cherry on top?," the Devil will never, ever, ever let you out.  It's excruciating pain from the moment you arrive in Hell until the moment after eternity.  p 125
Things I Didn't Like:
One thing I've always been annoyed by is the simplistic fairy tale writing style.  There is nothing descriptive or beautiful that goes with the stark writing to make it more enjoyable.  The parts where the author interjected made it fun, but when it went longer without those parts it was less fun.  Also, almost too gross and bloody for me in places :)

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

Reckless by Cornelia Funke
Plain Kate by Erin Bow

s-factor: !
incidental when they visit Hell

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: ->->->->
lots and lots of blood and gore and scary stuff

Overall rating: ****

Do you like quirky or do you avoid it?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. Retellings can be difficult and I applaud an author who can do it well. There seems to be a fine line between actually retelling and making it your own (and doing it well) and straying too far from the original storyline. Thanks for sharing!

    (New follower - found you via Tween Tuesday!)

  2. I never thought of Hansel and Gretel as bloody per se but it is sort of a disturbing fairy tale. I'd never thought about it but I think you're right; fairy tale retellings always get on my nerves if I read to many all at once. I think it's the simplistic style.

  3. Jessi, yes! I completely agree and there are some really good authors who can walk that line quite well.

    Jenny, well he added/changed the story a lot from what we'd recognize as the original tale. So it's quite a bit more violent. I know what you mean about too many all at once.


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