Friday, April 24, 2015


This retelling of the Brothers Grimm folktale Hansel & Gretel from Newbery-winner Neil Gaiman and illustrator Lorenzo Mattotti is not for the faint of heart, but should prove a spine-tingling treat to readers who crave spooky stories or like their folktales to maintain some of the original grit. The tone of the tale is as masterfully dark as the black-and-white artwork, appearing every few pages in a breathtaking spread. 

The bleakness of the setting and the desperation of the woodcutter are made palpable through story and pictures, and even readers already familiar with this tale of the siblings lost in the woods and their subsequent encounter with the old woman in the gingerbread house will be newly surprised by the details in this spare but affecting version. However, as grave as this telling can be, it also offers some hope and levity in its conclusion. Gaiman has also included an author's note on the origin and history of the Grimm folktale, which can make for some fascinating reading and may inspire further comparisons with other versions.

Best enjoyed by intrepid readers in grade 3 and up.

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