The grossness quotient has gone up in Gidwitz’s companion to A Tale Dark and Grimm, his grisly reimagining of classic fairy tales. Translation: this second foray is even more enjoyable than the author’s acclaimed debut. The protagonists in this installment are Jack, Jill, and a talking frog, whose adventures begin separately in reworkings of “The Frog Prince” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” before the three join forces in “Jack and the Bean-stalk.” Parental cruelties are more ordinary this time—mockery, neglect, and recrimination—but what the children find in their quest for the Seeing Glass is horrifying enough to compensate for any perceived softness at the outset. When Jill rescues Jack atop the beanstalk by accepting the giants’ eating challenge, even the Monty Python gang might cringe at the results—it’s the phrase “no guts, no glory” brought to Technicolor life. Gidwitz can do nuance, too, as Jill’s perilous encounter with a sympathetic mermaid demonstrates. Technically polished, and with more original content, this romp has lost none of the edge of its predecessor. Ages 10–up. Agent: Sarah Burnes, the Gernert Company. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/06/2012 Release date: 09/27/2012 Genre: Children's
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