Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tween Read Review: A Tale Dark And Grimm

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Perhaps the best advice found in this book was written in the author's final note: "Trust the stories, and trust that children can handle it, whatever IT is."

I've been convinced of this very thing since I began studying story years ago. Too often we have watered down these tales in the interest of making US more comfortable while robbing children of the stories that they would love. If they can handle the idea of a wretched pair of parents leaving them out in the woods to starve to death or be eaten by a cannibalistic witch with a gingerbread house, then why not hit them with the "real" story of how they fought dragons, cut off heads and fingers, and were almost chopped to bits by their first real crush?

In this anthology written as one fluid tale, Gidwitz gives readers a glimpse at his extensive knowledge of brother/sister tales of Grimm and doesn't leave out any of the juicy bits...even when those bits are bits of flesh.

Aside from the sheer delight readers will have from feeling as though they're getting the inside scoop on the lives of Hansel and Gretel, they will also enjoy the humorous asides by the narrator when he reminds us to "have the younger kids leave the room", or when he apologizes that "things just won't be getting better any time soon for these two." These little notes and one-liners were not only funny and quick-witted, but also said a lot of the things I found myself thinking. Questioning why it was perfectly alright for a woman to have a house made of candy in one story, but totally ridiculous for rain to talk in another. Aren't these the things we all think when reading different folktales?

There's a great pleasure in realizing which Grimm tale we've fallen into at each chapter, and it will leave those with a less than hungry appetite for folktales starving for more.

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