In A Tale Dark and Grimm, Adam Gidwitz retells the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel by combining Hansel and Gretel with other Brothers Grimm fairy tales such as Faithful John, The Seven Ravens, The Robber Bridegroom, and The Devil and The Three Golden Hairs (just to name a few.) Through Gidwitz’s story, Hansel and Gretel develop character, experience the world, and gain wisdom. They become more three-dimensional than in the original tale, and while their story deepens and grows past the gingerbread house, Hansel and Gretel retain their fairy tale character and qualities. (There’s a difference between a fairy tale character and a character in general fiction. I can’t put that difference into words now, but I know it when I read it.)
i checked out A Tale Dark and Grimm from the library. It’s in the juvenile section and after reading A Tale Dark and Grimm I can see why. Like any other uncensored fairy tale worth its salt, A Tale Dark and Grimm, doesn’t shy away from examining humanity’s darker side. There’s murder, torture, and other brutality, so I don’t recommend this book for children under age 8. Even the narrator tells the reader to send the little children out of the room due to a story’s impending gory scenes.
However, there’s a lot in A Tale Dark and Grimm that appeals to a child 8-12 years old (depending on the individual child.) In addition to murder, torture, and other brutality, the narrator speaks directly to a youngster and acknowledges the often scary, incomprehensible ways of the world with a snarky, smart-alecky sense of humor. The narrator (and Gidwitz) understands how children think and view the world. Gidwitz also uses the narrator effectively as a device to build suspense although there were a couple of places where I got irritated because I thought the narrator interrupted the flow of the overall story (but then I’m an often impatient adult.)
I enjoyed Adam Gidwitz’s A Tale Dark and Grimm. I was unfamiliar with Faithful John, The Seven Ravens, The Robber Bridegroom, and The Devil and The Three Golden Hairs and A Tale Dark and Grimm introduced me to them. I love to read spin offs on fairy tales and I find Gidwitz’s version clever, imaginative, and daring.