Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Tale Dark & Grimm

A Tale Dark & Grimm
Adam Gidwitz
Published by Dutton Children's Books 
Copyright: 2010

 Ever heard the story of Hanzel and Gretel? You probably remember the bread crumbs through the forest, the edible house, and the old woman who wanted to eat them, but in A Tale Dark & Grimm you will find that there is so much more to the story. Of course the narrator does warn the reader that this is NOT your usual bedtime, happily ever after version of this story. In fact the narrator warns, at moments of the book for small children and individuals with weak stomachs to leave the room or stop reading…it's just that gruesome. This version of the tale is full of adventure with dragons, magic, beasts, and even that old woman who wants to eat children. But, there is also a lot of blood and a lot of gore. So before you begin to read the true story of Hanzel and Gretel just …. BEWARE!
Reading Level: Grade 5-6; Lexile: 690L

Suggested Delivery: Independent Read
Web Resources: 
Author's Site: This is a link to Adam Gidwitz's website where you can read more about his book. You can also read more about the author himself, other books he has written, etc.  
Adam Gidwitz
Discussion Questions and Activities: This is a link to discussion questions and activities for the book A Tale Dark & Grimm. These discussion questions and activities come from the publisher Dutton Children's Books. This document can be used as a guide for teachers when meeting with students about what they are independently reading (if they are reading this book).  

Key Vocabulary: 

  • Inheritance
  • Incredulously
  • Dilapidated
  • Fascination
  • Adoration
  • Warlock
  • Complicit
  • Indiscreet
  • Merriment
  • Ludicrous
  • Taxidermied
  • Eviscerated
  • Emaciated
  • Turrets
  • Porticoes
  • Obsidian
  • Menacing
  • Simultaneously
  • Tangentially
  • Succulent
  • Patricidal

Suggestions for Activities for Students:

During Reading - 
 As a student reads this book it would be helpful for the teacher to provide the student with graphic organizers such as sequence of events charts, story maps, etc. These will help develop the student's ability to comprehend and communicate what is going on in the text he or she is reading. They will also guide students when they are writing journal entries about their books during guided reading or writing workshops/groups. This will help them develop their note taking skills, summarizing skills, and explicit comprehension skills. 
Below are a few examples of Sequencing of Events Charts that can be used in your classroom. These worksheets come from the website ReadWriteThink.org where you can find a number of worksheets, lesson, interactive activities and so much more to keep your student engaged!

Awards and Acknowledgements: 
School Library Journal Review- 
Gr 3 Up–Starred Review. With disarming delicacy and unexpected good cheer, Gidwitz reweaves some of the most shocking and bloody stories that the Brothers Grimm collected into a novel that's almost addictively compelling. He gives fair warning that this is no prettified, animated version of the old stories. “Are there any small children in the room now?” he asks midway through the first tale, “If so, it would be best if we just...hurried them off to bed. Because this is where things start to get, well...awesome.” Many of humanity's least attractive, primal emotions are on display: greed, jealousy, lust, and cowardice. But, mostly it's the unspeakable betrayal by bad parents and their children's journey to maturation and forgiveness that are at the heart of the book. Anyone who's ever questioned why Hansel and Gretel's father is so readily complicit in their probable deaths and why the brother and sister, nonetheless, return home after their harrowing travails will find satisfying explanations here. Gidwitz is terrifying and funny at the same time. His storytelling is so assured that it's hard to believe this is his debut novel. And his treatment of the Grimms' tales is a whole new thing. It's equally easy to imagine parents keeping their kids up late so they can read just one more chapter aloud, kids finishing it off under the covers with a flashlight, and parents sneaking into their kids' rooms to grab it off the nightstand and finish it themselves.–Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NYα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review-
As if Hansel and Gretel didn’t already have it tough in their original fairy tale, Gidwitz retrofits a handful of other obscure Grimm stories and casts the siblings as heroes. Connecting the dots, he crafts a narrative that has the twins beheaded (and reheaded, thankfully), dismembered, hunted, killed, brought back to life, sent to hell, and a number of other terrible fates en route to their happily ever after. Some adults will blanch at the way Gidwitz merrily embraces the gruesomeness prevalent in the original tales, but kids won’t mind a bit, and they’ll get some laughs out of the way he intrudes on the narrative (“This is when things start to get, well . . . awesome. But in a horrible, bloody kind of way”). The author also snarkily comments on the themes, sometimes a bit too heavy-handedly. The question many readers might have about the Grimms’ tales is perfectly pondered by the long-suffering twins: “Are there no good grown-ups anymore?” Not in these forests, kiddos. Grades 4-7. --Ian Chipman

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