Hansel and Gretel

Overview

Acclaimed storyteller Michael Morpurgo retells the beloved fairy tale in an enchanting edition vibrantly illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark.

Celebrated author Michael Morpurgo takes the Brothers Grimm classic to a new level, drawing on themes of hunger and hope, cruelty and courage, to tell a powerful story about love and family. Filled with intricate details, Emma Chichester Clark's bright, captivating illustrations fill each page.

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Overview

Acclaimed storyteller Michael Morpurgo retells the beloved fairy tale in an enchanting edition vibrantly illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark.

Celebrated author Michael Morpurgo takes the Brothers Grimm classic to a new level, drawing on themes of hunger and hope, cruelty and courage, to tell a powerful story about love and family. Filled with intricate details, Emma Chichester Clark's bright, captivating illustrations fill each page.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ann Farina
Gabriel the Good and Lisette the Lovely have two wonderful children, Hansel and Gretel. Their lives are perfect until one day when an old, wicked witch comes out of the forest. The witch is jealous and vows to replace Lisette. After she turns Lisette into a weeping willow tree, the old witch claims her name is Belladonna and marries Gabriel. Despite her outward kindness, Gabriel and the children sense that something is wrong. Out of desperate jealousy, Belladonna demands that Gabriel get rid of the children. When he fails, she turns him to stone and sets off to take care of the children herself. She decides to roast and eat them. She lures them to her gingerbread house and locks up Hansel. Resourceful Gretel comes up with a clever plan to rescue her beloved brother and herself. This is a splendid retelling of a classic tale. The story is rich with details and enhanced by the charming illustrations. The length of the story and the number of words per page will intimidate young readers. The illustrations and subject matter may deter older readers. Therefore, this book is a better read-aloud for primary grades. Also, this version would make a great gift book and super bedtime story. Reviewer: Ann Farina
School Library Journal

Gr 2-4

Leaving the basic framework of the Grimm Brothers' tale intact, Morpurgo has altered details of the plot, creating a story in which strong familial bonds allow the innocent brother and sister to overcome evil. A happy, self-sufficient family is cursed by a witch, Belladonna, who falls in love with Gabriel, the children's father, and turns their mother into a weeping willow tree. She enchants Gabriel, who marries her, but she soon realizes that she will never become an integral part of the family. Overcome with jealousy, she creates a sudden famine that kills nearly all of the plants and animals, then twice convinces Gabriel to lose his children in the forest, where she entices them into her little gingerbread cottage for a meal of pancakes and syrup. After each reference to the witch's black magic comes the refrain: "It was nothing for her to do that." The moment Gretel pushes Belladonna into her own oven, the children's world is instantly filled with love, beauty, good health, and happiness. Folk-art-style paintings, in watercolor with colored-pencil outlines and facial features, range in size from small decorations and vertical strips of various widths to full-page scenes. The story is written in language geared to young children, but the dark tone bumps up the age for which it would seem appropriate. Libraries with large fairy-tale collections may want to purchase this lengthier-than-usual version of the story.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH

Kirkus Reviews
Morpurgo casts a particularly repugnant witch in this lengthy, expanded version of the classic folktale. Tragedy strikes a happy family when the loathsome Belladonna comes out of the forest and, impelled by a desire to be young, beautiful and loved, transforms Hansel and Gretel's mother Lisette into a weeping willow and then in disguise turns the head of their grieving father. From there the plot mostly follows its traditional course. Hiding her rage when the children refuse to love her, Belladonna causes a famine and, cruelty being her "special specialty," badgers her husband into agreeing to dispose of his own children. After that fails, she takes matters into her own hands, making gleefully sure that both children understand just what fate she has in store for them. All of her spells are broken after Gretel shoves her into the oven, though, and the stage is set for a happily-ever-after ending. This psychologically freighted rendition isn't nearly as innocuous as the sparkly cover suggests, but Chichester Clark's slightly distant, brightly patterned cartoon illustrations ameliorate some of the tale's more unsettling aspects. (Picture book/folktale. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763640125
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 9/23/2008
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: AD810L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Morpurgo, former Children's Laureate of Britain, has written more than a hundred books and received many awards. His books include I BEVLIEVE IN UNICORNS, as well as retellings of BEOWULF and SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT. He lives in Devon, England.

Emma Chichester Clark has written and illustrated many acclaimed books for young readers, including the Blue Kangaroo stories, the fi rst of which was short-listed for the Kate Greenaway Medal. She lives in London.

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