“A TALE DARK AND GRIMM,” by Adam Gidwitz, Dutton Juvenile, $16.99 (ages 9-12)
Once upon a time …
That’s how all the great fairy tales begin.
Once upon a time there was a brother and sister who became lost in the forest. After awhile of wandering the two come across a home made from sweets.
Having not eaten all day, they sate their hunger by munching on the home. But they are discovered by the home’s owner — a witch in disguise.
The woman takes them in and fattens them up. But she has a devious motive, planning to cook the siblings for her dinner. It turns out the pair is smarter than her and it’s the witch ends up in the oven instead of the siblings.
Or so you thought.
Turns out that’s only part of Hansel and Gretel’s story. In “A Tale Dark and Grimm,” the siblings wander into eight other Grimm-inspired tales. And these tales aren’t pretty. In fact, some of them are kind of gruesome.
But never fear, the narrator is here, tempering the mayhem with cautions about what’s to come, and commentary on what’s just past.
This description might turn readers away. But that would be the wrong conclusion. This tongue-in-cheek book is full of crafty wit and clever twists. What makes it even more fun, is the stories have come from real-life experience — that of author Adam Gidwitz. Gidwitz taught second- and fifth-graders, and that attention to detail shows.
“A Tale Dark and Grimm” is an enticing step out of the “Once upon a time” fairy tales and into a complex world of fun and imagination.
© 2010 – 2017, Cracking the Cover. All rights reserved.