Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Tale Dark and Grimm


by Adam Gidwitz
Dutton, 2010. 256 pgs. Fiction

Hansel and Gretel wander in and out of a number of the grimmest of Grimm's fairy tales in this star turn of a first novel. Though Publishers' Weekly suggests the book is suitable for Grades 3 (what!) and up even the narrator suggests that young children should be escorted from the room from time to time and indeed, the story is filled with parental cowardice and betrayal, deaths and transfigurations, and chopped off heads. But, on the whole, this is a lovely and affirming story at last, as Hansel and Gretel's care for each other, and resourcefulness in terrifying circumstances, brings everyone home at last in a deeply satisfying way. Certainly not for third graders, but fifth and up should be fine. Good reading for the grown-ups as well.

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