TODAY   |  December 14, 2012

Al’s Book Club: Young readers review a ‘Grimm’ tale

In the latest installment of Al’s Book Club, TODAY’s Al Roker chats with young readers and author Adam Gidwitz about his book, “A Tale Dark and Grimm,” in which classic characters Hansel and Gretel are taken from their own story and thrown into eight other fairy tales.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> encounter witches. the author of "a tale dark and grim," we want to welcome back our book club group of kids on their last segment together. it's a little bittersweet. good to see you guys. we've got a live special guest, audrey , from california, who is skyping in with us. nice to see you, audrey .

>> hi.

>> hi. why did you decide to go with a fairy tale ?

>> i was a teacher, i'm glad to say i was a terrible teacher, really bad at it. i loved telling stories . i took down this book and never read the real fairy tale . turns out their terrifying, totally freaky. i look up at the end of the story, every kid looks like this --

>> horror.

>> terror. but some of them were like, that was good. you should make that into a book. and i was like, huh, maybe i should. so i did.

>> did they get to share in any of your royalties?

>> none.

>> there you go. let's start off with samara. what's your question?

>> good morning.

>> hi.

>> throughout your story the main characters , hansel and gretel encounter problems.

>> both of them. great thing about fairytales, not only are they like freaky, scary, bloody, but they talk about us, our fears, what we want. and so all of the stories are really about me and you as well as children doing terrifying things.

>> what's your question, sydney?

>> my favorite part of the book was the humorous comments from the narrator. did you incorporate those to lighten the original darkness?

>> yeah. the original kids i told them to, i figured i had to make a joke once in a while to calm them down, help them get through it. i decided when i wrote to book to put those original comments through the story.

>> your last question as a book club member.

>> pleasure to meet you. when you began writing your book, did you know how you wanted the story to end or did different adventures come to you?

>> i knew how i wanted it to end and it turns out i was wrong. i had to rewrite it, like 12 times and when i figured it out i was so excited, i was like, i got it!

>> did you say it in that voice?

>> exactly. i've got it!

>> audrey , our guest from california, has a book club kid's question.

>> hi. i loved your book. what did you want to make different in your story of hansel and gretel as compared to the original grimm fairytales?

>> there are certain similarities and certain differences from each story. and in this one, instead of having a witch in my book, the woman just likes to eat children, you know, because they're tasty, right?

>> yeah.

>> yikes. just one thing -- audrey 's like, yeah. let's find out how our kids rate this had book on a scale of one to five, they are giving "the tale dark & grimm" five stars. all right. thank you. and a lovely tie as a christmas present. thank you so