If you thought you were familiar with the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales, think again. With the belief that children like their stories with the messy bits left in, teacher and debut author Adam Gidwitz pulls eight tales into one fractured fairy tale starring Hansel and Gretel minus the sugar coating. Deciding early on that their parents are doing a pretty poor job of parenting, they set off to find their way in the world (a reasonable conclusion since their father chopped their heads off). In each adventure, the brother and sister run into adults who will not or cannot protect them from the evils of the world. When called upon to use their own wits and empathy, Hansel and Gretel overcome numerous obstacles (some of their own making) and save a kingdom. Not too shabby.
The narrator has plenty to say himself. Sometimes too much, but overall he does a nice job adding the humour to this grisly tale. The narrator variously entices and warns his readers. The characters’ illogical choices and moral shortcomings are pointed out, their heroism applauded and readers are reminded to hurry younger children off to bed so they can settle down to enjoy the awesomeness… “the horrible, bloody kind.”
When you’ve finished A Tale Dark and Grimm, be sure to look up some Grimm collections such as The Brothers Grimm: Popular Folk Tales and Grimms’ Tales for Young and Old to compare. --AndreaFrom ICPL Staff Picks Blog