A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A Tale Dark & Grimm follows the adventures of young Hansel and his twin sister Gretel. Well I should say Prince Hansel and Princess Gretel as it is revealed in the first chapter that they are the children of the King and Queen of The Kingdom of Grimm. (See what the author did there? Very cute.) This isn't the usual "parents leave children in the woods because there is no food" Hansel & Gretel. No this is something much more exciting. Hansel and Gretel take off on their own because they are not happy with their parents. The book follows their adventures and ties in many of fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. Each chapter is a different fairy tale and they involve our young protagonists.
Hansel is kind of foolish in the first few chapters. He does some really silly and dangerous things but by the sixth chapter Hansel has decided to be good so...magically he becomes good. Gretel seems to be the brains of the operations in my opinion. She is always the one with a plan and sacrifices in order for the children to accomplish their goals. As for the parents, the son is definitely the offspring of his father. The King is rather foolish in the beginning, also sort of a kidnapper but that is beside the point, but he redeems himself in the end and seeing the error of his ways makes a very generous gift to his children. The Queen, she is just there, she is like the draperies and carpets. She just exists because she has to exist. I'm sure she is a nice lady and all that jazz but girl is a static character through and through. But the story isn't about her so that is totally understandable.
I really enjoyed this book because of the integration of so many less familiar tales. There were a few that I could pick out easily but some I had to look up. Gidwitz wove these tales together so well that it reads not as separate tales just stuck into a collection, but as one continuous adventure. Some of my favorite parts come from the interruptions of the narrator. The narrator breaks into the story every little bit to give advice to readers to hurry small children off to bed cause things are about to get "awesome", to explain something to the reader, or to give spoilers. The narrator was the funniest part of this book. Some of the comments made me giggle and some made me laugh out loud, which then made my husband look at me like I was insane because it is 3am and I should really be asleep.
I would highly recommend this book to preteens who love fantasy and adventure, parents who don't mind reading stories with a little bit of violence to their children, and adults who first fell in love with fairy tales not found in the Disney vaults. I will definitely be reading the rest of this series. I checked out the synopsis of the next book, In a Glass Grimmly, which features a new set of children, Jack and Jill.
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My Favorite Quote: "You see, to find the brightest wisdom one must pass through the darkest zones. And through the darkest zones there can be no guide.
No guide, that is, but courage."