Author: Adam Gidwitz
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publication Date: 2010
Genre/Format: Fiction-Fantasy/Folk Literature/Novel
Summary: This time Hansel and Gretel's story isn't for young children because this is the true story - a tale gruesome and shocking - of what really happened to the fabled brother and sister.
What I Think: I absolutely devoured this book and am loving rereading it with one of my students right now. I think it was an excellent - although sometimes chill-worthy - idea to bring the Grimm brothers' stories to life in a new way. I'm a fan of taking familiar stories and retelling them or reworking them. This book had me wondering more about who Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm really were and about the stories they wrote. After booktalking this book to a colleague and her fourth grade class, they stopped me in the hallway to tell me they had the original Grimm stories and were reading those. How awesome is a book that truly incites readers to do more reading? I love it.
What I've also found is that not everyone is familiar with the brothers Grimm. It makes me reiterate the importance of teaching folk literature to students. Folk literature is one of my favorite genres to teach. These stories set the groundwork for other areas of literature - just look at J.K. Rowling and the complexity of Harry Potter. Fairy tales and folk literature are imperative in children's literature. I'm so thankful to authors today who are paying homage to these stories by retelling them or reworking them and giving them a twist to make them enticing to today's readers.
Read Together: 4 - 8
Read Alone: 4 - 8
Read With: The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm All-New Third Edition by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Just Too Cute!: And Other Tales of Adorable Animals for Horrible Children by Mike Reiss, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
Snatch of Text:
“Once upon a time, fairy tales were awesome.
I know, I know. You don’t believe me. I don’t blame you. A little while ago, I wouldn’t have believed it myself. Little girls in red caps skipiping around the forest? Awesome? I don’t think so.
But then I started to read them. The real, Grimm ones. Very few little girls in red caps in those.
Well, there’s one, but she gets eaten. “ (p. 1)
“There was a house, right in the center of the swamp. Its walls were the color of chocolate cake, and its roof glittered under the rising sun like icing.” (p. 40)
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Making Inferences, Making Predictions
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative, Narrative
Writing Prompts: Choose your own favorite folk tale and write it from a different perspective. Choose your favorite folk tale and write it in a different setting. Write about a time in your life when you felt you could trust someone wholeheartedly.
Topics Covered: Loyalty, Family, Friends, Courage, Trust, Making Decisions
Translated to Spanish: No