First of all, the winner of the paperback copy of MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE is:
Thanks to everyone who entered!
I’m excited to share IN A GLASS GRIMMLY this week for MMGM. I read Adam Gidwitz’s first book, A TALE DARK AND GRIMM, before I started this blog, so I didn’t get a chance to review it. I’m delighted that his second book includes the same things I loved in the first one. Although these two books are companions, they are completely separate stories, so you don’t have to read the first book before the second. Here’s the blurb:
oversize plant life, amphibious beasts, and fear-inducing creatures abound.
Lest you enter with dread.
Follow Jack and Jill as they enter startling new landscapes that may (or may not) be scary, bloody, terrifying, and altogether true.
Step lively, dear reader …
Happily ever after isn’t cutting it anymore. If you dare, join Jack and Jill on a harrowing quest through a new set of tales from the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and others, in this eerie, subversive, and hair-raising companion novel to Adam Gidwitz’s widely acclaimed, award-winning debut, A TALE DARK & GRIMM.
Here are the five things I loved most:
1. The narrator – It’s not easy to pull off a narrator who speaks directly to the reader, but Adam Gidwitz is a master. He interrupts throughout the story to give warnings or outright heckle the reader. I love it. Here’s an excerpt from the prologue.
Once upon a time, fairy tales were horrible.
Not boring horrible. Not so-cute-you-want-to-jump-out-the-window horrible.
Horrible like they define it in the dictionary:
Horrible (adj.)–causing feelings of horror, dread, unbearable sadness, and nausea; also tending to produce nightmares, whimpering for one’s parents, and bed-wetting.
I know, I know. You’re thinking: “Fairy tales? Horrible? Please.” I get that.
If you’ve been raised on that drivel that passes for fairy tales these days, you’re not going to believe a word that I’m saying.
2. The fairy tales – The prologue provides a perfect segue into what Adam Gidwitz does with the fairy tales. He takes two characters–Jack and Jill–and weaves them into multiple fairy tales and nursery rhymes to form a single story. It includes such diverse tales as “The Frog King of Iron Heinrich,” “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” and “Faithful Johannes.” He then includes some original tales of his own to connect them all. It’s brilliantly done.
3. The boy factor – This isn’t technically something that I love because, well, I’m a girl, but I can appreciate that boys will love the chapter with the vomit, as well as many other gross and even violent scenes. These characters do not have it easy. By the end of the book, they’ve been through a number of disgusting and painful adventures.
4. The characters surprise me – Every time I thought I knew what to expect from Jack and Jill, they’d surprise me. They’d keep making the same mistakes, until suddenly they didn’t. But I believed the change. It’s very well done.
5. The moral of the story – Much of the advice you see out in the writing community is not to have a heavy moral lesson. This book gets away with it because often fairy tales had a moral to them, so of course this one should, too. And it’s a good one. So kids will enjoy the adventure, but they’ll also learn something, too.
Who else has read Adam Gidwitz? What did you like best?