A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that when author/narrator Adam Gidwitz warns readers that Grimm's stories are violent and bloody, and that "if such things bother you, we should probably stop right now," he's not kidding: A Tale Dark and Grimm is violent and bloody. However, in his funny asides, Gidwitz walks the reader through the tough parts, instructing them to take any little children out of the room and pointing out parts you might want to skip if you're squeamish. Many readers will take these warnings as a challenge to read on, and they will not be disappointed: This story of Hansel and Gretel brings the brother and sister alive in a way that few readers will have experienced.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Starring Hansel and Gretel but including themes from several other lesser-known Grimm's fairy tales, A TALE DARK AND GRIMM tells the story of two children who are beheaded by their parents, a king and queen. Once their heads are returned to them, Hansel and Gretel go on a quest to find parents who are worthy of them, because \"they believed firmly in their little hearts that parents should not kill their children.\" As is to be expected, they do find a house made of cake, but their adventures also extend to a stint in a magical forest, a journey through hell, and villagers who take them in but who are not what they seem. There are also riddles to solve, spells to break, and ravens who prophesy. The narrator, who often interrupts the story with conversational asides, adds just the right amount of humor to the often dire circumstances.
Is it any good?
In A Tale Dark and Grimm, author Adam Gidwitz does what fairy tales have always done: He tells important truths by wrapping them in the metaphor of an exciting story. Unlike some of the more Disneyfied takes, however, he makes sure not to leave out any of the darkness on the road to happily ever after. That's what makes this book, as Gidwitz says, "Awesome ... in a horrible, bloody kind of way." Readers familiar with the classic tale of "Hansel and Gretel" will finally understand why the children decide to return home even after their parents abandon them, as they are fully fleshed out characters with whom readers will empathize. Gidwitz's own asides add humor and help make the book an excellent family read-aloud.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the narrator's warning that the book is full of horrible things. How horrible did you think the things that happened to Hansel and Gretel were compared with some of the movies you've seen? Can books be as scary as movies?
Besides Hansel and Gretel, did you recognize any other familiar fairy tale elements in A Tale Dark and Grimm?
The narrator says you too will probably have to forgive your parents some day. Have you ever had to do this? How did it make you feel?
- Author: Adam Gidwitz
- Genre: Fairy Tale
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Fairy Tales
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Dutton Children's Books
- Publication date: October 28, 2010
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 14
- Number of pages: 192
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Award: ALA Best and Notable Books
- Last updated: July 2, 2020
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