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Sunday, July 21, 2013

In A Glass Grimly, written by Adam Gidwitz. Dutton, Penguin. 2012. $18.00 ages 10 and up

"The frog watched, mesmerized. And where you or I might have begun to suspect this little girl of being a selfish brat, the frog, not knowing many (any) humans, saw only a maiden who had somehow captured the sky and kept it jailed behind her eyelids. And he suddenly felt that if only he could spend the rest of his days in the presence of this beautiful creature he would be perfectly and totally happy."

Are there plans being made in your family for a summer camping trip, a backyard tenting excursion, a feast of evening stories right at home? If so, you don't want to miss this companion to A Tale Dark and Grimm (2011).

No longer retelling only Grimm fairy tales, Adam Gidwitz adds to his repertoire by introducing Hans Christian Andersen and Mother Goose to his eager readers. You will fall in love with the storytelling and the attention you get when you read them aloud to anyone who wants to listen. This set of tales has lost none of the exuberant style we so enjoyed in his first book.

This time our guides are Jack and Jill, and they are accompanied by a talking, three-legged frog who serves as an entertaining and humorous companion as they search for the elusive Seeing Glass. There are some horrifying events to be endured and the ever present narrator who is quick to add  beneficial, tongue-in-cheek asides:

"I do not know if little children are reading, or hearing, this book. After all the revolting bloodshed with the giants, and then the goblins, not to mention the horrible scene with the mermaid and the drowned girl, I certainly hope they are not.
But in case they are, or in case older children are reading this story and do not appreciate having the bejeezus scared out of them, or in case you are an adult and you just aren't really in the mood to be upset, I warn all of you:
This next part is not nice."

The gross factor is upped and sure to please fans of the first book, while causing some degree of discomfort for others. But then, they don't have to read it, or listen to it either. Following their many described and intriguing escapades Jack and Jill return home, despite much adversity and terrific adventure, to tell their story and to mend fences with their oft-negligent parents.

For those who love fairy tales and nursery rhymes you will recognize characters, settings and even certain actioms from the traditional tales. The characters are lively, the pace is quick, and the end result is a most engaging story to share at any time of the year. You will be charmed by it; you won't soon forget it. The best news of all is that you don't have to wait too long now for the third and final instalment. The Grimm Conclusion is due in early October this year. You will be sure to want a copy!

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