Marshmallow reviews A Tale Dark and Grimm, by Adam Gidwitz

In her third review Marshmallow shares her thoughts on A Tale Dark & Grimm, by Adam Gidwitz.

Marshmallow reviews A Tale Dark & Grimm, by Adam Gidwitz.
Marshmallow reviews A Tale Dark & Grimm, by Adam Gidwitz.

Marshmallow’s quick take: This is the story of Hansel and Gretel but not the version we are accustomed to. Though it is a scary book, it is a great read. Definitely not for younger kids though; too bloody!

“Reader: beware. Warlocks with deadly spells, hunters with deadly aim, and bakers with ovens retrofitted for cooking children lurk within these pages. But if you dare, turn the page and learn the true story of Hansel and Gretel — the story behind (and beyond) the breadcrumbs, edible houses, and outwitted witches. Come on in. It may be frightening, it’s certainly bloody, and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart, but unlike those other fairy tales you know, this one is true.”

Marshmallow’s summary (with spoilers): After having their heads cut off by their father, the king of Grimm, and coming back to life because someone puts their heads back in their places, Hansel and Gretel run away in fear that their father will decapitate them again and next time they may not be so lucky. Their escape turns into a failure; they face problem after problem and they seem to be cursed. (They are actually cursed.)

They travel from town to town and village to village in search for good parents. While in search for good parents, Gretel and Hansel go through many challenges. like losing a finger and nearly being killed by a warlock (Gretel) and being gambled away to the devil and disguising as the devil’s grandma (Hansel).

But when they hear rumors about a dragon wrecking the kingdom of Grimm and hiding in a human body to stay unseen, they decide that it is time to go home to Grimm. They have to save the kingdom! But someone very close to them has been taken over by the dragon. Someone who they had known for their whole life. Should they kill the infected person or not? Save the kingdom but lose one of their closest family members? You can find out in A Tale Dark & Grimm.

Marshmallow’s Review: This was a great read, but it is not, I repeat, it is NOT for children younger than seven. The narrator says himself many times not to let younger children read it.

The author writes little notes that foreshadow what will happen, like in Chapter 5: A Smile As Red As Blood. (A Smile As Red As Blood is about how Gretel falls in love with a man, who turns out to be a warlock, who invites girls to his house and kills them and after that eats them for supper. I already told you the book is really bloody!)

“No, of course it can’t. The moon can eat children, and fingers can open doors, and people’s heads can be put back on. But rain? Talk? Don’t be ridiculous. Good thinking, Gretel dear. Good thinking. ”

Though this is a scary book it is a great read. It is the original story of Hansel and Gretel, plus extra added. Instead of killing the witch who lives inside an edible house, they find a baker inside, who tries to eat them. There are gambling dukes and talking ravens that see the future and warlocks who like to cook young women.

Marshmallow’s rating: 90%.

Marshmallow rates A Tale Dark & Grimm 90%.
Marshmallow rates A Tale Dark & Grimm 90%.

 

Marshmallow reviews The BFG, by Roald Dahl

In her second review Marshmallow shares her thoughts on an old favorite: Roald Dahl’s The BFG.

Marshmallow reviews The BFG by Roald Dahl.
Marshmallow reviews The BFG by Roald Dahl.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like stories about orphans, or if you are a fan of Roald Dahl, then this might possibly be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s summary (with spoilers): When Sophie is snatched out of her bed during the witching hour by some unseen horror that stifles her scream for help with a gigantic thumb and carries her to some unknown land, naturally she thinks that she is going to die. (The unseen horror turns out to be a giant, the Big Friendly Giant from the title of the book.) But when the giant starts a conversation about how human beans (beings) taste like, how Turks taste like turkey, and how people from Jersey taste like cardigans, and how Greeks taste greasy, she is very confused. At the end of the conversation, the giant proclaims that he does not eat “human beans” for snacks, and Sophie feels better.

“What a strange and moody creature this is, she thought. One moment he is telling me my head is full of squashed flies and the next moment his heart is melting for me because Mrs. Clonkers locks us in the cellar.”

Sophie soon learns that the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) is the only friendly giant in the Land of Giants; all the others eat humans. Sophie thinks the BFG is “strange and moody”, but soon they become very good friends. The BFG is gentle and kind. Sophie is lonely.

In the afternoon, they see the other giants galloping off to England to eat people. (They apparently just grab them and eat them on the spot!) The giants always tell the BFG where they are going. For example, “We is off to Mrs Sippi and Miss Souri to guzzle them both!”  

Sophie and her new friend the BFG need to stop this massacre of human beans. Can the Queen of England help?

Marshmallow’s Review:I think that The BFG is a good book. It poses a lot of philosophical questions. For example: Are the giants that eat humans much worse than we are? At some point (page 71 in my edition of the book), Sophie says, “I think it’s rotten that those foul giants should go off every night to eat humans. Humans have never done them any harm.” The BFG answers, “That is what the little piggy-wig is saying every day. He is saying ‘I has never done any harm to the human bean so why should he be eating me?`”

“That is what the little piggy-wig is saying every day,” BFG answered. “He is saying `I has never done any harm to the human bean so why should he be eating me?`”

The illustrations by Quentin Blake help the reader imagine the characters in the story, especially how much bigger the giants are from the human beans. They are bigger than the BFG and Blake’s drawings help us see that.

This is a good book, but it can be frightening for kids younger than five. Sophie gets kidnapped by a giant at the beginning of the story, right from her bedroom in the middle of the night. When I was about five and my mom wanted to read this to me, I got really scared and so we had to stop reading.

Marshmallow’s rating: 90%.

Marshmallow rates The BFG by Roald Dahl 90%. May the Force be with you!
Marshmallow rates The BFG by Roald Dahl 90%.

 

Marshmallow’s first review: Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, by J.K. Rowling

Marshmallow loved reading the seven books in the Harry Potter series. Below she shares her thoughts on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by J.K. Rowling.

Marshmallow reviews Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by J.K. Rowling.
Marshmallow reviews Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by J.K. Rowling.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books about magic and adventure then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s summary (with spoilers): While dealing with family issues and an unwanted family legacy that comes with being Harry Potter’s youngest son, it does not help that Albus Severus Potter gets placed in Slytherin, the house opposing the one that his parents were placed in. The world seems to go upside down. But on the Hogwarts Express Albus makes a friend, Scorpius Malfoy. His parents discourage the idea of being friends with Draco Malfoy’s son. (Draco was a bully and a nuisance at school while Harry was there.)

When he catches his father lying to Amos Diggory about a time turner that Harry says the Ministry of Magic does not have, Albus decides that if his father can’t be a hero, then he will.

While listening to Amos plead for a time turner to save his beloved son Cedric Diggory, Albus meets Delphini (Delphi) Diggory, Cedric’s cousin. [Flashback to Book 4: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Cedric Diggory entered the Triwizard Tournament, a competition between Hogwarts, Durmstrang and Beauxbaton. There is supposed to be one champion from every school and they have to be 17 years old to enter their names into the Goblet of Fire. But someone older than 17 enters Harry’s name into the Goblet of Fire and the champions are Harry and Cedric Diggory for Hogwarts, Victor Krum for Durmstrang, and Fleur Delacour for Beauxbatons. In the last of the three trials, Cedric is killed by Wormtail (a servant of Lord Voldemort), who was ordered to “kill the spare”. Then Harry finds out that Barty Crouch Jr., the son of Barty Crouch, disguised as Professor Mad-Eye Moody, put Harry’s name in the Goblet of Fire.]  

Harry lies to Amos, and says that the Ministry of Magic does not have any time turners, so he cannot help him. Albus decides that if his father can’t be a hero, then he will. So he steals a time turner with Scorpius and Delphi to try to save Cedric Diggory before death catches up to them. They decide that Delphi should stay behind. But then they mess up and Albus ceases to exist because they kill Harry and without him Voldemort returns.

Scorpius, Snape (who is still alive in this alternate world), and Ron and Hermione (who are rebels trying to kill Voldemort) try to fix the world and do. But when they return Cedric is still dead. They try to save Cedric one last time with Delphi. But Delphi had no intention to save Cedric Diggory for she was waiting to save her father, Tom Marvolo Riddle, or He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named — only the bravest (and in Book 7, the most reckless) called him Lord Voldemort. But Albus and Scorpius don’t know her intentions until they see the Augurey on her neck and the murder of Craig Bowker Jr. When the time turner is smashed to dozens of pieces all hope is lost. Will they be able to save the Wizarding World from the new prophecy?

“When spares are spared, and time is turned, when unseen children murder their fathers: Then will the Dark Lord return.”         

Marshmallow’s review: I think that this book would be great for people who enjoyed reading the first seven Harry Potter books. Though this is written in the form of a screenplay (I read the Special Rehearsal Edition Script), it has a great plot. And all throughout, the real villain in this story had been hiding in the shadows waiting to strike. J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne twist and turn this beautifully written story and a moral for all, “Sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.”

Marshmallow’s rating: 100%. 

Marshmallow rates Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling 100%.
Marshmallow rates Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling 100%.