October 2010 by Dutton Juvinile
In 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.
A Tale Dark and Grimm was a very quick read; I finished in two days. It was fun to hop through some lesser-known fairytales, and Gidwitz does not Disney-ify them. They stay creepy and gruesome and Grimm. This book might be a bit much for young, young readers, but most 10 year olds would like it.
I loved the narrator. He pops in frequently to urge you to make sure the children can't hear the next part because it's just too scary for them. He also points out some of the huge logical fails that fairytale characters make, such as why would Gretel have to cut off her finger for it to work as a key. This book is a tribute to the Grimm tales, but it is a tongue in cheek tribute.
I wish Gidwitz had done more to flesh out Hansel and Gretel. Their characters were never really developed. They started as caricatures and never moved far beyond that. I get that Gidwitz wrote the book to explore the stories rather than to explore the characters, but I still would have appreciated a bit more depth. I never felt like I knew Hansel and Gretel as people.
A Tale Dark and Grimm is a fun, quick read with a beautiful cover (I'm a sucker for silhouettes). It's definitely worth a try for any fairytale lovers.