• Title: Hansel and Gretel (Folk & Fairytales)
  • Author: Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm, Ian Wallace
  • Released: 1996-03-05
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 32
  • ISBN: 0888992122
  • ISBN13: 978-0888992123
  • ASIN: 0888992122
From School Library Journal Grade 1-4?A brooding, surrealistic version of the classic fairy tale. Wallace modernizes the Grimms' story, turning the stepmother into the more ambiguous "the woman"; making Gretel into Hansel's equal partner (eliminating her crying); and omitting all mention of God. Otherwise, the text follows the original pretty faithfully. The illustrations, done in pastel pencils on black paper, have an eerie gloominess and iridescent quality. The witch's face is only shown on the cover, but the pictures inside are scary enough. When the children are alone in the forest, they are tiny figures in an alien, threatening landscape. What looks like a giant, half-submerged face seems to threaten them at one point; a huge hourglass next to Hansel's cage underlines the urgency of his danger; and the siblings' reunion with their father takes place near a graveyard. At the end, the text proclaims the traditional litany of "...they lived in perfect happiness from then on," but a turn of the page reveals an ominous rebirth of the witch. Somewhat surprisingly, there are not many good picture-book versions of this tale in print. James Marshall's (Dial, 1990) is excellent for the very young?the witch is not scary and a sense of humor pervades the text; Susan Jeffers's (Dial, 1980) is traditional and beautiful. Wallace's is unusual and emphasizes the dark side of the tale. It is definitely a distinguished book to savor; independent readers will pore over its pages and scrutinize its details.?Judith Constantinides, East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Gr. 2^-4. Sinister but not gruesome, this retelling, first published in Canada, of one of the scariest of all fairy tales gives the story a contemporary setting. There's one basic change: the stepmother of the original is the mother this time, which is something many children may have always felt anyway. The pictures show a dark forest on a stormy shore. Times are hard; the mother is a scold with her hair in rollers; the father is too weak to stand up to her when she insists they abandon their children. Done with pastel pencil on black paper, the illustrations have a brooding, surreal fearfulness; and though the words say that the story ends happily, the pictures remain scary, the witch always a threat. Use this version with older readers who know the story. Hazel Rochman

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