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Author: Adam Gidwitz

Book Review/Tour: The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog

Book Review/Tour: The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog

Book Review/Tour: The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog
The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: September 27th 2016
Pages: 384

1242. On a dark night, travelers from across France cross paths at an inn and begin to tell stories of three children: William, an oblate on a mission from his monastery; Jacob, a Jewish boy who has fled his burning villa≥ and Jeanne, a peasant girl who hides her prophetic visions. They are accompanied by Jeanne's loyal greyhound, Gwenforte . . . recently brought back from the dead. As the narrator collects their tales, the story of these three unlikely allies begins to come together.

Their adventures take them on a chase through France to escape prejudice and persecution and save precious and holy texts from being burned. They're taken captive by knights, sit alongside a king, and save the land from a farting dragon. And as their quest drives them forward to a final showdown at Mont Saint-Michel, all will come to question if these children can perform the miracles of saints.

I can’t say enough good things about The Inquisitor’s Tale. This has been one of the first books in weeks that I devoured and didn’t want to let go of. The basic format reminds me a lot of Canterbury Tales where multiple people are telling the story of these three children and a holy dog. A journey that leaps off the page from the very start.

The story does have a very central theme of religion to it, but it’s secondary to the story of friendship. A peasant, monk and Jew from medieval times are quite the unlikely group. However, it’s not long before the trio find comfort in each other. Yes, it’s their mystical powers and crazy circumstances that bring them together initial, but their friendship becomes deeply rooted in a very short time. Their gifts work beautiful in tandem with each other as they learn how to solve situations and problems head on together.

I also love how there are a few twist and turns in the story. There are moments where you have to question almost everything. When you have to look beyond the surface to discover the truth. Who is good? Who is bad? And who can they truly trust? William, Jacob, & Jeanne have a lot to overcome, but at the same time it was nice to see that they didn’t have to completely lose their aura of innocence and kindness to accomplish it. They weren’t hardened souls by the end of the story, instead they were 3 children (& a holy dog) that have lived through a frolicking adventure with endless possibilities for their future.

I suppose if I had to complain about anything, it would be that the ending felt a bit preachy. Religion really came to the forefront at that point. It kind of made me go “eh” a little, but I completely understand the reasons behind it. It also perfect fit the times and the story as a whole, so it’s kind of a nitpicky point but one I figured I’d still mention.

One last thing I’ll mention is that Gidwitz put a lot of research into this book. I love the author’s not where he talks about where the ideas came from and what was based on truth and what was not. Also, the annotated bibliography is great. I do think this may spur kids to want to learn more about this era and the titles listed will be helpful on that journey.

As a side note, I did read this as an ARC & most of the illuminations were not put it. What I did see I loved and I plan to grab a finished copy ASAP to check them out.

 

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BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:
Monday, 9/26: Green Bean Teen Queen (Review)
Monday, 9/26: MundieKids (Review)
Tuesday, 9/27: Books 4 Your Kids (Review)
Tuesday, 9/27: Novel Novice (Guest Post)
Wednesday, 9/28: Read Write Reflect (Review)
Wednesday, 9/28: The Reading Nook (Guest Post)
Thursday, 9/29: Imagination Soup (Review)
Thursday, 9/29: Middle Grade Mafioso (Guest Post)
Friday, 9/30: All The Wonders (Podcast)

 

Book Review: A Tale Dark and Grimm

Book Review: A Tale Dark and Grimm

Book Review: A Tale Dark and Grimm
A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
Series: A Tale Dark and Grimm #1
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: October 2010
Pages: 256

Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm (and Grimm-inspired) fairy tales. An irreverent, witty narrator leads us through encounters with witches, warlocks, dragons, and the devil himself. As the siblings roam a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind the famous tales, as well as how to take charge of their destinies and create their own happily ever after. Because once upon a time, fairy tales were awesome.

When I picked up this book, I thought that because it was a middle grade novel it really wouldn’t be as grim as the title said. But I was very wrong. This novel is a set of stories that have a very Grimm feel to them. The reader follows a pair of children, Hansel and Gretel, in and out of different stories, all the while narrated by someone who warns you how horrid this book really is and that you should beware. It reminds me a bit of the Lemony Snicket books and adding that with some dark fairy tale retellings really made me read this book almost too quickly. Gidwitz did a fantastic job of weaving these stories in a chronological order and it flowed so beautifully from one story to the next with some extra narration to keep you intrigued as to what further gore might be experienced.

And although it is indeed dark and grim, I think my students in 4th and 5th grade will eat this one up. I really enjoyed it as a fan of fairy tales and hope they will too. I may end up rereading this one at some point because it was fantastically done. If you like the darker side of fairy tales, you should try this one out.