I’ve been on an audiobook roll lately, this week was no exception. While I’d like to give myself credit for selecting an awesome book to listen to–the real credit lies with author Adam Gidwitz and his amazing book ‘A Tale Dark and Grimm.’
Gidwitz artfully curates Grimm within the framework of a royal Hansel and Gretel who runaway from their kingdom to save their own skin. As Gidwitz explains on his website, Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and take on the roles of children in a host of Grimm Fairy Tales. An accessible narrator weaves the tale together for the reader. Gidwitz does not back down from the doom, darkness and gore that accompany Grimm. Rather, he uses the narrator to alert the reader to parts of the story that are particularly dark or scary.
What I love most about this book is that Gidwitz uses his story to make fairy tales appealing to a middle grade audience in a way that is faithful to the form and not insulting to the reader (i.e., setting these stories in a middle school). I also love how wise and revered Hansel and Gretel become by the end of the story–it’ lets the reader know that kids CAN be right when adults are wrong.
I recommend this book for any middle grade reader who loves adventure. Adults with an appreciation for fairy tales (or epic adventures) will enjoy this book as well. As stated above, this book can be dark and gory at times–let the narrator (and your judgement) guide you. A colleague of mine just recommended this book to a middle school teacher introducing his students to Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I second the recommendation–this is a great way to warm classes to fairy tale content from middle school through college.