A Tale Dark and Grimm

Binding: Paperback

Imprint: Andersen Press

Grimm series Series

Age 9+

Traditional Stories General Fiction Adventure Stories Humorous Stories

Reader: beware. Warlocks with dark spells, hunters with deadly aim, and bakers with ovens retrofitted for cooking children lurk within these pages.
But if you dare, turn the page and learn the true story of Hansel and Gretel - the story behind (and beyond) the bread crumbs, edible houses and outwitted witches.
Come on in. It may be frightening, it's certainly bloody, and it's definitely not for the faint of heart.

'Gidwitz manages to balance the grisly violence of the original Grimms' fairy tales with a wonderful sense of humor and narrative voice. Check it out!' Rick Riordan

'Unlike any children's book I've ever read. [It] holds up to multiple readings, like the classic I think it will turn out to be' New York Times

'An audacious debut that's wicked smart and wicked funny' Publisher's Weekly, starred review

'Addictively compelling' School Library Journal, starred review


Adam Gidwitz grew up in Baltimore, USA. Now he lives in Brooklyn and teaches kids large and slightly less large at Saint Ann's School. Adam always writes about things that he's experienced personally. So, while all of the dark and grim things in this book really did happen to Hansel and Gretel, they also happened to Adam. Of course, if you've ever had a childhood, they've probably happened to you too. Want to hear more about Adam's harrowing experiences? Visit him online at www.adamgidwitz.com


Unlike any children’s book I’ve ever read. [It] holds up to multiple readings, like the classic I think it will turn out to be.

New York Times

An audacious debut that’s wicked smart and wicked funny.

Publisher's Weekly, starred review

Addictively compelling

School Library Journal, starred review

Subversive and fun

Evening Standard

Gidwitz has created a sharp, funny story ­– a fairy tale with teeth.


Told with a delicious wit…brilliant and terrifying


Wisely written. Dark, edgy and just plain brilliant.

Peters Bookselling Services - Book of the Week

A marvelous reworking of old stories that manages to be fresh, frightening, funny, and humane.

Wall Street Journal

Gidwitz has a profound understanding of the Grimms’ tales, and he cleverly weaves different tales with an imaginative thread so that they form a grand narrative that has a critical utopian vision – a realm ruled by wise and responsible children.

Jack Zipes, Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota

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.

School Library Joural, starred review

This wonderfully grisly retelling of the Brothers Grimm is to your typical Happily Ever After what an axe is to a butter knife. My advice: just nod and smile and tell your parents it’s only a book of fairy tales.

Pseudonymous Bosch, author of The Name of This Book Is Secret

Witty, heartfelt, and spattered with gore . . . Adam Gidwitz tells his tale with urgency and panache.

Laura Amy Schlitz, Newbery-Medal-winning Author

A tour de force of imagination.

The Bookbag

Sufficiently dark and grisly to make children squeal with glee and has the perfect mix of fantasy and irreverence

Addicted blog

Children will love this. It’s horribly grim and it’s comical . . . I heartily recommend it.

The Bookette

A Tale Dark and Grimm and The Grimm Legacy are both amazingly good but I think that A Tale Dark and Grimm is better because there’s no kissing.

Biblioteca Reviews (a child's review)

My in-house 10-year-old reader raves about Adam Gidwitz’s trilogy of takes on the Grimm stories from a modern perspective. Subversive and fun.

Evening Standard

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.

School Library Journal, starred review

I loved A Tale Dark and Grimm because of the gruesome and scary bits. It was really funny when the author interrupted the story with funny comments.

Johnny Cort, aged 8

Brilliant twist on the fairy tale world…there’s plenty of humour and gore.


Interesting and funny and the characters were good.

Teen Titles

It captures the essence of fairy tales, and the magic of fantasy in an entertaining and fun way for readers aged eight and over, and shows that imagination and sacrifice are powerful. And sometimes, it is the child characters who save the day – in a wonderfully cyclical way in this story that will make sense when you read it.

Ashleigh Meikle

The narrator injects great humour, warnings and tension at vital break points in the story. The result is that readers who might otherwise lose interest are kept hooked, and those who choose to continue are desperate to know what happens next. They are ready for the violence, action, blood or hard choices that follow.And of course, at its heart this is still a fairy tale. So it also includes multiple instances of good vs evil – although sometimes the line between the two sides is not as clear-cut as you might expect. This could provoke some interesting discussions about how to decide what is ‘good’ when there are negatives on both sides.

Read Plus

A Tale Dark and Grimm, author Adam Gidwitz revives the original Grimm brother fairy tales in an irreverent and amusing manner. So, despite the often violent and grisly events, kids are likely to read it as more awesome than gruesome. The narrator’s voice is strong throughout the story, commenting on characters and events, and often pre-warning of violence to come. The commentary is entertaining, highlighting the absurdity of situations, but also acts as a temper for intensity; quickly transporting readers back to reality. The tales themselves are full of action, twists, and turns. A Tale Dark and Grimm, despite what the title might suggest, is a really entertaining, at times humorous and engaging journey through the many ordeals faced by brother and sister Hansel and Gretel, which ultimately, as in all good fairy, tales ends happily.

Reading Time

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