As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

May 1, 2013

A TALE DARK AND GRIMM and IN A GLASS GRIMMLY by Adam Gidwitz, 2010, 2012

A TALE DARK AND GRIMMIn this mischievous and utterly original debut, Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm-inspired tales. As readers follow the siblings through a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind (and beyond) the bread crumbs, edible houses, and outwitted witches Fairy tales have never been more irreverent or subversive as Hansel and Gretel learn to take charge of their destinies and become the clever architects of their own happily ever after. (Amazon).

IN A GLASS GRIMMLYMore Grimm tales await in the harrowing, hilarious companion to a beloved new classic. In this companion novel to Adam Gidwitz's widely acclaimed, award-winning debut, A Tale Dark & Grimm, Jack and Jill explore a new set of tales from the Brothers Grimm and others, including Jack and the Beanstalk and The Frog Prince. (Amazon)

Reviewed by Pica, avid bookworm

These books were fantastic and fun middle grade reads. I picked up A Tale Dark and Grimm during the Fairy Tale Readathon, and it was the perfect book to get me excited about reading during an extended readathon. When I finished A Tale Dark and Grimm, I immediately ran out for In A Glass Grimmly, because I wanted to continue with such a fun book. 

In each chapter, Gidwitz modifies an original Grimm tale (or sometimes another fairy tale) to create a flowing narrative which, in A Tale Dark and Grimm, follows Hansel and Gretel, and which, in In a Glass Grimmly, follows Jack and Jill. He uses both well-known and lesser-known tales, ranging from Faithful Johannes to Hansel and Gretel.

As much as I liked the fairy tales (and I did like them very much), the best part of these stories is the constant narrator commentary. The narrator inserts his (or her, but I'll assume his as the author is a man) thoughts every few pages, speaking directly to and even playing tricks on the reader. It reminded my a little bit of the Bartimaeus books, but without the footnotes. This narrator doesn't bother with footnotes. He sticks his thoughts right into the middle of the text. And it totally worked - it was hilarious.

In A Tale Dark and Grimm, I loved Hansel and Gretel, the main characters. They were excellent middle grade protagonists: clever, interesting, and proactive. In In a Glass Grimmly, Jack and Jill were not quite as fun. Although I enjoyed the narratorial comments just as much if not more in In a Glass Grimmly, I found the characters not quite as easy to connect to or sympathize with.

Overall Thoughts: I would happily recommend this to any middle grader who came my way, especially a middle grade boy who was in a reading slump. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and I am proud to add these volumes to my collection of fairy tale retellings.

Market: Middle Grade
Language: Mild
Sensuality: Mild
Violence: Mild to moderate. The narrator makes a joke out of most of the violent bits, telling the reader to watch out or get all the kids out of the room.

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