I have a thing for fairy tales, especially Hansel and Gretel. So when I saw A Tale Dark and Grimm at the library a few weeks ago, I couldn’t hesitate. I needed to read this book.
Firstly, I thought the story was incredibly creative. It’s like the classic Hansel and Gretel except in addition to the witch, they deal with many other scary beings and they move through different fairy tales. They decide they must choose their own fate and they’re trying to locate caretakers that aren’t dangerous and brutal toward them. In a nutshell, they’re trying to stay alive. In between certain tales and sections we have a narrator that lightens the mood and warns before something violent is about to happen. I liked that, but at times it was also distracting.
Secondly, is this seriously Juvenile Fiction for 3rd grade+? It seems way to gruesome for 3rd graders to be reading, but in a way the story is fairly simple which makes me have a love hate relationship with it as far as the reading level. I would put this into the 5-6th grade level, but not 3rd grade and that’s based solely on the content. The author is covering Grimm’s fairy tales here with added twists and I don’t necessarily feel that readers should be spared on the details, but maybe this should be listed for an older audience. It’s fairly sadistic at times. I’d say for younger readers it’s best to read with an adult.
Overall rating on this one is:
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.
I was born in San Francisco in 1982, but moved to Baltimore when I was two and a half. I grew up there, attending a school without very many rules. Somehow, I found a way to break all of them. I spent my entire middle school career in the principal’s office. One day I will write a book and tell you about all of the ways you can be sent to the principal’s office during middle school. Maybe each chapter will be a different way to be sent to the principal’s office. There will be three hundred and forty-five thousand chapters.
I straightened myself out during high school and ended up going to college in New York City. I thought about majoring in religion, and then in philosophy, but ultimately chose English literature, because I think that the deepest truths about life tend to be written in works of fiction. Also, you can’t beat the homework in English: “You’ll like this book! And this one! Try this book, it’s amazing!”
I spent my third year of college in England. I walked around the old university town and ate beef pasties and sat in parks and read John Keats all day long. I only had to go to class twice a week, for an hour at a time. If you’re any good at math, you’ll know that that means I only had to be somewhere for two hours out of every 168. That means I was free to do whatever I wanted 166 out of every 168 hours, or 98.8% of the time. I didn’t realize it then, but it was in that year that I discovered I could be a writer–me, a beef pasty, and my imagination is all I seem to need to be happy. (My wife tells me that this is untrue. I refuse to believe her.)
After graduating, I stayed in New York and took a job in a second grade classroom at Saint Ann’s School, in Brooklyn, while attending Bank Street College of Education in the evenings. So during the days I was telling stories to kids at lunch and recess and story time, and at night I was meeting writers and reading bags full of children’s books and thinking about how it all went together. Eventually, I taught first, second, fifth, and high school at Saint Ann’s.
I spent most of 2012 living in France with my wife, who studies monks in the Middle Ages. Now, we’re back in Brooklyn. I’m writing most of the time, and traveling around the US, visiting schools, the rest of the time. –From the author’s website
You can find Adam Gidwitz at: