Sadly, this morning, author Pete Hautman did not chose A TALE DARK AND GRIMM to advance in School Library Journal's second round of their Battle of the Kids' Books.
First off, let me start by admitting that I have not read TRASH, the book Mr. Hautman chose instead of A TALE DARK AND GRIMM. In fact, I hadn't even heard of it before the brackets were released. I have no doubt in my mind that it is worthy of advancing, and maybe even winning, this contest.
What upsets me is that I don't feel like A TALE DARK AND GRIMM got a fair shake. Mr. Hautman said he chose TRASH because in the end, it "cut deeper." I'm sorry, but I don't buy it.
Hautman praised Gidwitz's ability to take classic Grimm tales and weave them together and put a fresh spin on them. He also praised Gidwitz for making A TALE DARK AND GRIMM very readable for children, thus admitting that A TALE DARK AND GRIMM will have wide child appeal. But not once, did he mention anything about the themes buried beneath the amputations, the blood, and the gore.
A TALE DARK AND GRIMM is about sibling love. About growing up in a world that is confusing and scary. It's about the love and affection children have for their parents, and how important it is for that need to be met and returned. A TALE DARK AND GRIMM is about the importance of family. It's a how-to book (or a how-not-to book, depending on how you look at it) for parents. Yet Hautman mentions none of this. Which leads me to believe he took it at face value.
A TALE DARK AND GRIMM is so good that it would be easy to cast it off as popular and leave it at that. But when read carefully, it isn't too difficult to see that it's actually so much more than that.
Here's hoping it makes a comeback as the winner of the Undead Poll!