Essays & Articles

Andrea Greenlee, Galley Talk, Publisher’s Weekly

Just a quick warning: two small children are about to get their heads chopped off. It’s kind of gross.” If this statement alone doesn’t get your reluctant boy readers grabbing for A Tale Dark and Grimm in less than five seconds, you need to work on your delivery. With an introduction that is on par with the opening lines of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Gidwitz assures that young readers will absolutely fly through these reworked stories by our favorite cautionary tale penmen, those remarkable and creepy Brothers Grimm.

The book follows the exploits of Hansel and Gretel, as they weave their way through their own story, as well as eight other original (but slightly less well known) Grimm tales. The chapters are fairly short and not too intimidating, making this book a great read aloud pick. Hansel and Gretel emerge as really empathetic and believable protagonists that kids will end up cheering for the whole way. The book’s larger themes of struggle and redemption will resound with readers of all ages. Gidwitz’s voice helps to keep the stories’ darker parts manageable, and offers some levity to the situations in a Lemony Snicket kind of way.

This is going to be one of the easiest handsells of the season. Give it to anyone you can think of who has a fascination with slightly more macabre fantasy worlds in which the lines between good and evil become just a little bit fuzzy. Enjoy this book with a rainstorm and a cup of hot chocolate, because as Gidwitz points out, “Once upon a time, fairy tales were awesome.

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