Children's Literature - Jamaica Johnson ConnerHansel and his sister, Gretel, leave their poor cottage to look after their father in the forest. They leave a trail of breadcrumbs so that they will be able to find their way home. On their way through the forest, Hansel and Gretel encounter a house made completely out of candy. Because they are so hungry, they begin to eat the house. When the witch, who owns the candy house, discovers Hansel and Gretel, she traps Hansel in a cage and makes Gretel force feed her brother to make him fat enough for the witch to eat. Gretel, however, is much more cunning then the witch knows and overpowers the witch with her wits. Part of the "We Both Read" series, the traditional fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel adopts a new, educational form with a contemporary, visual twist. The left page of the story is written for a parent, guardian, or adult to read, and the page on the right is meant for a child to read. The adult's page is filled with advanced vocabulary and complex, varied sentence structures. The child's page uses developmentally appropriate vocabulary, simple sentences, and rhythmic text. Words used on both the adult and child's pages are in bold type. Creative illustrations complement the text with angular faces of the characters, the unifying color scheme, the playful expressions, and the use of geometric shapes. Parents, guardians, or family members who enjoy reading to and with their children will enjoy this piece.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalK-Gr 1-These series titles are designed to be shared by adults and youngsters. The children's pages have large print and only a few simple words or sentences, while those for adults are more difficult. Hansel and Gretel follows the traditional story, minus the stepmother. The pictures are rather stiff, stylized cartoons. Many superior renditions of the story are available; this one's only strength is to promote the concept of tandem reading. In New Red Bed, a boy experiences a series of manic dream adventures when he sleeps in his new bed for the first time. There is no coherent story-just rapid changes of scene, brightly illustrated with humorous cartoons. Subjects were apparently chosen with an ear toward phonics: "-dog on a frog," "-fish on a dish," "-green bats in hats/and big fat blue cats." Budgets would be better spent on traditional easy-reader favorites.-Lisa Smith, Lindenhurst Memorial Library, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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