Thursday, September 15, 2011

Before the Blog (6): A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

Some of you already know this, but I've started a weekly meme called "Before the Blog". In short, it's a place to review books you read and loved before you began blogging about them. Basically, you choose a book each week, then answer the following three questions,and post your review.   Then you can add your post to the little Mr. Linky widget below, and voila!

Why did you choose this book? 
When did you read this book?
Who would you recommend this book to?

For more info, see my 1st BtB post by clicking this LINK.  The book I chose this week is...

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publication Date: November 11th, 2010

Why did you choose this book?  I am a purist when it come to fairy tales.  They aren't supposed to be what Disney churns out. When I heard this was coming out- a retelling of Grimm's Fairy Tales in their proper form, I had to get my hands on it.  

When did you read this book?  I've read it a few times now, but the first time was last November when it came out.

Who would you recommend this book to? Everyone!  I think too many people think fairy tales are supposed to be all rainbows and happy endings...  I think adults will enjoy this as much as kids.  Maybe very little children shouldn't read it (although I've read it to my twin 6 year olds twice) because there are scary/gory parts.  4th-6th grade boys will love it!

In this mischievous and utterly original debut, Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm-inspired tales. As readers follow the siblings through a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind (and beyond) the bread crumbs, edible houses, and outwitted witches.

Fairy tales have never been more irreverent or subversive as Hansel and Gretel learn to take charge of their destinies and become the clever architects of their own happily ever after.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

I eagerly awaited the release of this book for months and months, and for once, was not disappointed once I got my hands on it! I wish I could give this book a hundred stars because it deserves it! It was fabulous! As far as fairy tales go, I'm a purist. As much as I love Disney, I think they totally raped the amazing stories of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen when they created their adaptations. I know, I know. Four year old girls have no desire to see stepsisters get their eyes pecked out and such, but these tales are supposed to be dark, cautionary tales, not fluff; they weren't created for four-year-old girls.  So many people, because of Disney, believe fairy tales should always end with, "...and they lived happily ever after!", when in fact, they often end in quite the opposite way- on purpose. Author Adam Gidwitz does a wonderful job re-telling them the way they were meant to be told; dark, gory, but with a subtle message. He is a genius in the way he took several great, rather unknown (and untouched by Disney) stories from Grimm's Fairy Tales, weaving them together as one tale centered around the VERY well known Hansel and Gretel. Yes, it's often bloody, scary, and downright horrifying, but also quite funny because of the author's commentary (and you have to give him credit...he does warn the reader that the awful parts are coming). He manages to keep the reader wholly engaged throughout the entire book.  There is never a point in the story where it drags.  In fact, it's the type of book that makes you want to continue reading even if it means letting your kids stay up until midnight and miss the following day of school so you can finish it *coughs, looks around guiltily*.

I can't really gush or proclaim my love of this book enough.  This was hands-down my favorite 2010 release (and that is saying something because it keeps the company of books like Anna and the French Kiss, The Dead Tossed Waves, The Familiars, Clockwork Angel, Paranormalcy, etc.).  This is a book that I predict will not only become a classic piece of children's literature, but will also spark many a Disney-brainwashed child's interest in reading the original Grimm's Fairy Tales, and that would be a service to them. It is a rare gem of an author that can combine humor with a darkish story and come out winning.  I sincerely hope Gidwitz writes MANY more books of this sort, because he has a fabulous wit that had earned him a fan in me! (If it sounds like I have a little crush on him, it's because I do- even though he's far too young for me.  Shhh.  Don't tell my husband!)

Don't forget to check out the Adam Gidwitz's website either!  It's is really, REALLY well done!  Click HERE.

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★++++ 

Grade Level Recommendation:  Like I mentioned above, this might be too scary for very young children, but other than the fear factor, I think this appropriate for anyone.  My kids don't scare that easily, and I read it to my littlest ones at (just turned) six.  They were scared, but not nightmares-sleep-with-the-lights-on scared.  The reading level is probably around 5th grade, and the humor is somewhat dry, so older kids may get more out of it, but as far as content, it's fine for anyone.


  1. I love everything to do with fairytales (in their origonal, creepy form) so I was really surprised that I had not heard of this book. I will totally have to go grab a copy! Thanks for telling me about it!!

  2. Great meme!

    I haven't read this book, but it was been on my list ever since it came out. I guess I need to move it higher up the list!


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