My son, who is 8, was introduced to this book and came home scared and afraid. After reading half of it myself, I can see why. The narrator in this story repeatedly warns of impeding violence and the describes the violence in such a way that it is gory and creepy. I can not imagine any child not being affected by the level of violence in this book. Take, for example, this excerpt from the book,
"He invites girls to this house, and he reaches down their throats and rips their souls from their bodies, and he traps the souls in cages in the form of doves, to let them rot under his eaves. Then he hacks the girls' bodies to pieces to make our supper."
"He threw the girl on the oaken table, and from a nearby cupboard produced a filthy iron cage. Then he reached his hand into the girl's mouth until his arm was buried deep in her throat. Slowly, painfully, and with great struggle from the girl, he pulled forth a beautiful white dove. The dove fought the young man as he shoved it in the filthy cage and slammed the door shut."
"The girl's body was still.
Now you might want to close your eyes.
He lifted an ax that hung on the wall, and Gretel, peering through a gap between a filthy pot and a filthier pan, watched her handsome, wonderful, funny friend hack the girl's body into bits and toss each piece into the boiling cauldron. His blunt butcher's knife rose and fell, rose and fell. He licked the blood from his hands and sent piece after piece sailing into the pot."
Excerpt From: Gidwitz, Adam. "A Tale Dark and Grimm." PENGUIN group, 2010-10-25.
Simply not a book for young children. In fact, it was too much for my taste and I couldn't finish it.