So, you think you know the story of Hansel and Gretel, do you? Well, you would be so wrong. For here is the story in all of its wonderful darkness and gore and violence and humor (yes, humor, too). A TALE DARK AND GRIMM by Adam Gidwitz (Dutton 2010) turns the story on its head, so to speak. Gidwitz manages to weave together a series of connected stories that feature Hansel and Gretel as heroes rather than always as victims. The tales are from Grimm in some sense, but they are also unique especially with Gidwitz's interruptions in the narrative. Kids will gobble this up just as Hansel and Gretel demolished the wonderful sweet house of the witch. Perfect for reading aloud a chapter (story) a day and perfect for those who love tales dark and grim. <1>
When I was doing booktalks with middle and high school students, I would always include the Grimm version of Cinderella. Librarians at the schools reported a renewed interest in the 398.2 (Dewey call # for fairly tales) after my visit. I wanted kids to know how sanitized some of their versions of the stories (i.e., Disney-fied) are and to understand that many of the stories by Grimm and Jacobs and Lang and Perrault and others are different. A TALE DARK AND GRIMM will, I know, renew interest in these earlier versions of tales.
The READING LADDER for this book could reach to the stars. Here are the suggestions I jotted down as I was reading:
TRAIL OF STONES
GRIMM'S HOUSEHOLD TALES
THE PRINCESS BRIDE
TRULY GRIMM TALES
TALES FROM THE BROTHERS GRIMM AND THE SISTERS WEIRD
DANTE'S INFERNO GN
THE BAD BEGINNING
There are many more.