Reading Level: Children’s
Genre: Fairy Tale/Picture Book
Length: 56 pages
Publisher: Toon Books
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 4/5 stars
This is another one of the few Gaiman books I have not read. It’s a fairly straightforward retelling of Hansel and Gretel with some abstract black and white artwork to accompany the tale.
This is a retelling of Hansel and Gretel that stays pretty true to the Brothers Grimm version of the tale. So Hansel and Gretel do get abandoned by their parents because of famine, Hansel does get imprisoned and fattened up, and the old woman does want to roast and eat the children. The only reason I mention all of this is because it might be a little much for really young kids, my seven year old didn’t have any problem with the story when I read it to him though.
The whole tale is told in Gaiman’s wonderful prose, so there is excellent description and the book sounds very good read outloud. It has a very fairy tale feel to it and the story really comes alive.
I also enjoyed that Gaiman provides a little background on the war that caused the famine. It’s an interesting look at life in that era and takes the glamour out of war. I think it was a good thing for my son to hear about what war can do to the people in the warring country (sometimes I think battles and wars are a bit glamorized for kids).
The artwork is very abstract and all in black in white. It fit the mood of the story well. It also gave me and my son a chance to look at and discuss more abstract types of art, something he doesn’t see often.
I also really enjoyed the afterward. The afterward goes into the origins of Hansel and Gretel and the various incarnations of that folktale, something I love learning about.
Overall an excellent retelling of Hansel and Gretel with moody abstract artwork to accompany it. I loved some of the background provided on the famine Hansel and Gretel live through and really enjoyed the Afterward about the origins of this folktale.