A Tale Dark and Grimm reworks the original Hansel and Gretel storyline along with some other Brothers Grimm tidbits and spins a tale that is both, original and lighthearted, yet gruesomely dark at the same time. Author Adam Gidwitz’s presence is felt throughout the story as he interjects his thoughts on how the story is proceeding, here and there. Sometimes right in the middle of the action, but it never feels obtrusive. We follow Hansel and Gretel from home to the house they begin to eat (that we all know and love), but then we go further with them living in the woods on their own, going into the depths of hell to see the devil himself, and even to fight a dragon.
I love hearing the original Brothers Grimm stories and how awful and gruesome they were. It just amuses me that they were made to be so squeaky clean after a time. This book takes from some of the original tales and morphs them together in a new take on Hansel and Gretel. The author has a presence in the book as well, giving us reminders that the little kids that scare should be removed from the room at certain points of time. This just adds to the charm since these are the kids that the book is aimed at. While there is more gruesome talk featured in this story than is in most books directed at kids aged 9-12, it isn’t over the top or overly detailed. It simply states the facts of what happened and tells you that they were covered in blood, no lingering for effect. It is a great read for reluctant readers, as the chapters are divided up quite well and feel quick to read. It is for both boys and girls, and anyone who has ever questioned how easy those “once upon a time” tales really have it.