Grimm, Grimmer, Grimmest

Ages: 6 - 10Producer: Pinna

Grimm, Grimmer, Grimmest, retells the classic fairy tales of the literary, legendary brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm—in their creepiest, most bizarre and original form, dating back more than 200 years ago (slightly rewritten for modern kids).

The podcast’s creator and narrator, the gifted storyteller Adam Gidwitz, presents these weirdo stories with a gentle, humorous retelling aimed at inspiring enthusiastic readers, not nightmares. Upfront, in each tale, the affable Gidwitz chats with actual school kids in their classrooms where he’s about to tell one of the stories. He wants everyone on the same page in terms of their own lives vis-à-vis the fairy tale. Quickly, he moves into each compelling plot that’s complete with high-quality voice actors, music and sound effects.

Due to the unusual nature of these stories, Gidwitz, a Newbery Honor winner and best-selling author of many Grimm books interjects suspense-breather moments when he stops the story and talks with the live audience. In the “Rumpelstiltskin” episode, for instance, when the king threatens to hang the miller “from his thumbs until dead,” Gidwitz asks the students if they had any idea how hanging by the thumbs could kill someone. The kids had lots of ideas, funny comments and laughter–none of it reflecting the macabre concept. Then, back to the story …

And Gidwitz makes sure the kids think about the lessons these tales carry. In “Little Chick,” for instance: the mean Old Cook is conspiring to make dinner of the orphan girl Little Chick and wants another child to swear to secrecy. Gidwitz stops the action and asks the school kids, “What do you say if an adult tells you to keep a secret?” And that leads to a humorous yet thoughtful classroom interaction. Lots of entertainment value and some excellent learning moments arise in these remarkable podcasts.

Don Oldenburg ©2019 Parents’ Choice

A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of “The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion” (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

Available here