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Venture to distant and fantastic worlds at Jabberwocky

 Author Jordan Jacobs, seen traveling through the Sahara Desert, is also an archaeologist.
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Date published: 11/29/2012


"You almost get a feeling of time travel with archaeology," he said. "If you find something even as mundane as a piece of pottery, you can sometimes see the fingerprints of the person who made it. It's really an amazing feeling to hold something and know that you are the first person to hold it since hundreds and hundreds of years ago when a real person created it and used it."

Next Monday, young readers will, again, have an opportunity to travel--this time, to that land of Once Upon a Time as Adam Gidwitz, author of "A Tale Dark and Grimm" presents his newest work, "In a Glass Grimmly."

Gidwitz's tales intertwine some elements from the original writings of the Brothers Grimm and take them up a notch with just the right blend of humor and adventure.

"In a Glass Grimmly" follows the ventures of young Jack and Jill through a spectrum of fairy-tale scenarios, as they encounter the gruesome creatures and spine-tingling harrows that were key to the original stories those German brothers wrote more than 150 years ago--living up to their famous last name.

With tongue-in-cheek humor, Gidwitz highlights the gory and most frightening aspects of his tales, but with a clear goal in sight.

"I try to play up the really scary stuff to get the kids' attention, but--Shhh! Don't tell anyone--I'm really not trying to terrify anyone," he said. "I think the element of fear heightens the kids' excitement and opens their ears and minds so they can really engage in what I'm writing about."

What he's writing about are often unvoiced fears that many young people experience and, by portraying them as a thing or a character, Gidwitz helps his readers to identify and deal with those issues. And while his stories may include some gruesome episodes, they are peppered with humor and author's interjections that give the readers some breathing space from the action.

"I think that reading a scary book is like going into a spook house," he said. "You go in knowing that you're going to get scared but that you are going to come out OK in the end. I think kids often live sheltered lives, and they want to experience fear and they want to test themselves. It's like going on a roller coaster. They want to go to the edge as long as they know they can safely come back, having learned something."

Collette Caprara is a local writer and artist.

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What: Book signings with Jordan Jacobs and Adam Gidwitz Where: Jabberwocky Book Store, 810 Caroline St., Fredericksburg When: Jordan Jacobs: Saturday, Dec. 1, noon-2 p.m. Adam Gidwitz: Monday, Dec. 3, 4-6 p.m. Cost: Free Info: 540/371-5684; jabberwocky.typepad.com