Sunday, April 14, 2013

Program + review: beTWEEN the lines

I was a bit worried about turn-out for our March book club - the books had not arrived by the February meeting, so I worried that even my regular kids would forget to come and pick them up after they arrived or forget about the meeting. I guess I worried for nothing - only one of my regular attendees didn't show up. However, half of the kids had to leave early, so we ended up having a very abbreviated discussion. We voted on our May title and I handed out copies of our April book after our discussion and we adjourned after about 40 minutes (our meetings are normally an hour long). Anyway, on to the review!

A Tale Dark & Grimm
By Adam Gidwitz
Published 2011 by Puffin
You think you know the story of Hansel and Gretel, but you're wrong. You only know part of the story. It's a good thing our narrator is here to fill in the rest...

Confession: I offered this as one of the choices for the kids because I wanted to read it and I was pretty sure they would pick it. They did, unanimously, so it became our March book club selection. What I thought about it: I wanted to like it a lot more than I did. On the surface, this really seemed like a book made for me - snarky narrator, retelling of fairy-tales, horror and blood and guts. And it's not that I didn't like this book - it was a quick read, and I chuckled a few times and I thought Gidwitz did a great job of making the stories the perfect blend of horror and humor. I just felt slightly underwhelmed overall. Still, I'm looking forward to reading the companion book and seeing if I like it any better.

What the kids thought: I found it really interesting hearing the kids' opinions of this one. Overwhelmingly, they thought it was really scary, and gross, and one of them was put off by the "bad language" in the story (one of the stories actually takes place in Hell). At the same time that they were scared, they also all claimed to like the book, so I guess it's true that we're interested in what scares us. I asked if any of them would read the companion book, but they had a hard time understanding what exactly a "companion book" meant (they were fixated on the idea of a sequel). They didn't seem opposed to reading more, though.

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