Hansel and Gretel

Although this book is by the same illustrator as Little Pea, Little Hoot, and Little Oink, don’t expect Jen Corace and Cynthia Rylant’s version of Hansel and Gretel to carry the same whimsy. Instead, this story conveys all the spookiness intended by the Brothers Grimm. At the same time, as the review in School Library Journal, notes, “Rylant retells the familiar Grimm tale with an emphasis on the courage and character of its young protagonists. She opens by noting that while guardian spirits may protect small children, Hansel and Gretel is the story ‘of children who find the courage to protect themselves.’ She focuses on the family dynamics: the weakness of their father, the cruel machinations of the bitter stepmother, and the effect on the children. The language is forceful and direct: the siblings learn that wickedness takes many forms, and that a smile often masks evil intentions. After escaping the witch, the children are helped on their way home by a large swan, and Rylant surmises that perhaps guardian spirits finally intervene ‘when small children have already been so brave.’ Complementing this retelling, Corace’s pen-and-ink artwork features neutral hues and sober-faced children. The book has an old-fashioned, handcrafted look with illustrations and text carefully placed on each page.” Giggle factor: not applicable; bit of a spine-tingler instead. Adult enjoyment: if you like art. Illustrations: five jelly jars. Click here to read a review of Paul Zelinsky‘s version.

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~ by kaychubbuck on April 25, 2011.

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