4 Stars - Strongly recommended
This is not the Hansel and Gretel you grew up with.
It's darker. It's bloodier. Think "The Book of Lost Things" and "The Eyes of the Dragon" - a twisted spin on the fairy tale you thought you knew.
It starts as all fairy tales start... Once upon a time.
A young boy and a young girl, children who should never have been born, were born into a life of unhappy endings. After running away from their murderous parents into the edible home of an evil old witch, Hansel and Gretel find themselves searching all throughout the land for good grown-ups who will take care of them. This search finds them running from bad homes to worse ones - walking for months to the crystal mountain, outwitting the Devil at the Gates of Hell, killing and sacrificing for their own survival...
Adam Gidwitz breaks into this unexpectedly, delightfully, macabre tale to warn the reader of upcoming terrors and traumas, pleading with parents to send their children to bed, faking a happy ending until he is certain every last child is out of hearing (or reading) range, before continuing with his gruesome story.
A Tale Dark & Grimm was a refreshing take on a favorite fairy tale. Delivered tongue in cheek, Gidwitz's style works well for both the old and young at heart. Full of witches and warlocks, dragons and demons, you can't go wrong!
Go ahead, get your Grimm on!