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The Grimm Conclusion



Grisly, dark fairy tale has heartwarming and funny moments.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Gidwitz tells the reader it's not his intention to educate, but as always, he shows the power stories have to both teach and entertain, and he slips in some good vocabulary words while he's at it.

Positive messages

Express your feelings, even if they're painful. Children shouldn't blame themselves for parental neglect.

Positive role models

Despite their frequent promise to never leave each other, siblings Jorinda and Joringel frequently do just that. Though their promise-breaking is the result of each being put in intolerable situations, it causes them to feel horrible guilt, which in turn makes them shut themselves off from other people for fear of hurting them. It's a complex emotional learning curve, but both manage to come out of it stronger and more kind.


As in A Tale Dark and Grimm and In a Glass Grimmly, Gidwitz warns in his introduction to The Grimm Conclusion that the tale he's about to tell is "ghastly, sinister, repellent -- and awesome," and he keeps his promise. Children are murdered (though they're brought back to life through magic and cleverness), heads are cut off, parts of feet are cut off, children are imprisoned, and parents are neglectful. The most awful parts are interrupted by narrator Gidwitz assuring readers that if they stick with the story, they'll be glad they did.


A classic analysis of the tale of "The Sleeping Beauty" is that it's a metaphor for a girl getting her period and growing up; Gidwitz makes it more literal by substituting the prick of a finger on a spindle with the princess being cursed with a monthly pain that makes her act terribly moody. This may resonate with the initiated but most likely will go over the heads of those unfamiliar with menstruation.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Grimm Conclusion is the final entry in Adam Gidwitz's Grimm series, following the companion books A Tale Dark and Grimm and In a Glass Grimmly, and he once again presents familiar fairy-tale elements tied together in an unfamiliar way. Like its predecessors, The Grimm Conclusion is indeed grim, keeping with the traditional, unwatered-down tales of the Brothers Grimm. A child is murdered and put in a stew that his mother eats. Heads are cut off, as are parts of feet to fit them inside shoes; and children are neglected, abandoned, and chained to their homes (though murdered children also are brought back to life through magic and cleverness). Throughout the grisly parts, however, Gidwitz interrupts his narration with humorous asides assuring readers that, although he knows the story is "messed up," it will eventually lead to a happy ending.

What's the story?

A couple longs for a child and is magically granted baby twins Jorinda and Joringel. When the father dies, the mother marries a wicked stepfather who murders Joringel and blames it on Jorinda, who grows to hate her home life so much she agrees to marry a prince she meets at a ball. Meanwhile, Joringel comes back to life as a bird, drops a millstone on his stepfather, and comes back to life. These events are only fuel for the real story, a classic fairy-tale quest that includes a scary forest, an ogre, talking ravens, and an exciting battle between soldiers and an army of children.

Is it any good?


Author Adam Gidwitz really knows his fairy tales, and THE GRIMM CONCLUSION is just as satisfying as the previous books in the Grimm series. As always, he keeps the wonderfully gruesome parts and manages to infuse the story with a modern-day feel through his chatty narration and relatable characters. However, he takes the metafiction one step too far when Jorinda and Joringel venture out of the story and into Gidwitz's world: a Brooklyn public school classroom.

There Gidwitz does what he so skillfully avoided in A Tale Dark and Grimm and In a Glass Grimmly: He becomes didactic. Instead of having the characters figure out what they need to do to make their lives better, he has a grown-up give them the psychoanalytical reason for their pain and tells them how to fix it. This is a disappointing choice from a writer whose strength lies in the subtle way he imparts wisdom and life lessons through fairy-tale metaphors. Despite this, the exciting adventures of Jorinda and Joringel will keep readers engaged and will especially appeal to fans of the first two books.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about fairy tales. Why are these old stories still so interesting to us that they're still retold today in books, movies, and television shows?

  • Can you think of other books, movies, or TV shows wherein the characters talk to the audience? How does it affect the story when writers use this technique?

  • How do you think The Grimm Conclusion compares with the first two Grimm books? Is it a satisfying end to the series?

Book details

Author:Adam Gidwitz
Genre:Fairy Tale
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Book characters, Brothers and sisters, Fairy tales
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:October 8, 2013
Number of pages:368
Publisher's recommended age(s):10 - 17
Available on:Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

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Kid, 9 years old April 13, 2014

older kids

I think it's meant for kids that are older... kids that can stand violence. Of course, It's good and has exciting parts. But trust me on this one, parents. Don't let kids under 9 years old read this book.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educator and Parent of a 10 and 12 year old Written byCrescentmoon50 March 23, 2016

Horror story conclusion

Common Sense themselves has given this book a 5 out of 5 for violence. Reviewers on Amazon have stated " it deals with betrayal, cruelty, murder," and "Like the first two books, the Conclusion offers a quick and enjoyable read for adults. " Another reviewer stated "They're certainly dark, and not at all for children, but they're fun as well."
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent Written byletsread May 16, 2016


This book was disturbing, to put it lightly. I read the first few pages and it made me sick to my stomach. In order to be able to tell my shocked 11-year old daughter that the story indeed has a happy ending, I did turn a few pages after that, and skipped to the end, so I understand it does have a happy ending and a message about the importance of expressing one's feelings. However, I just could not find any humor in the narrator's lighthearted asides OR hear the author's message over the loud snap of the heavy trunk's lid cutting off a little boy's head.. or his little sister's screams when she sees his headless body and his severed head and is tortured by her stepfather who makes her believe she is the one who killed him.. or the little boy's mother actually EATING HER MURDERED LITTLE BOY in a stew which her murderous husband cooked and served her. This is sick. It's the only word to describe it. Every appalling and disgusting detail is savored and described vividly and carefully. IMO, the level of graphic violence in this book is off the charts. I truly wish I could un-read it and get the imagery out of my head forever. It is very upsetting. They say it may not be suitable for younger readers.. Trust me, the age has nothing to do with it. I know I will never be old enough for this. Would not recommend this book to anyone - children OR adults.
What other families should know
Too much violence