A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
A TALE DARK & GRIMM (Dutton Juvenile, 2010) expands on the stories originally penned by the Brothers Grimm, weaving them together in his version of Hansel and Gretel. The reader is fairly warned about the terribleness of what's coming around the next page turn, and I will emphasize that the narrator is not just saying that in a Lemony Snicket kind of way. Timid readers may be disturbed by the gruesome details, but those kids straddling the line between middle grade and YA, and who like a creepy tale, will love how dark and grim this tale gets.
Like the warnings, the entire story is wrapped in a snarky smile which dilutes the horror somewhat. But the threat of being eaten by a witch was far from the only trauma for Hansel and Gretel on their breadcrumb-free trail to a happy ending.
As re-tellings go, this is most clever as Gidwitz draws connections between our familiar heroes and other not-so-familiar Grimm characters, all the while staying (mostly) true to the Brothers' stories.
The companion book recently hit the shelves (IN A GLASS GRIMMLY) skipping ahead sixty years to tell about the grandchildren of Hansel and Gretel, who happen to be ... yep, you guessed it ... Jack and Jill. Look for my review in the coming weeks.