Hansel & Gretel

Overview

Will Moses, one of America’s most beloved folk artists, brings us his charming interpretation of the most enduring of all Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales, Hansel & Gretel. Moses’ playful double-spread paintings, full of exquisite color and details, and his authentic retelling of this classic story will captivate young readers and take them back to a dark, mysterious forest, an enticing gingerbread house, and a terrifying witch.

At once beautiful, whimsical, and great fun, Will ...

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Overview

Will Moses, one of America’s most beloved folk artists, brings us his charming interpretation of the most enduring of all Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales, Hansel & Gretel. Moses’ playful double-spread paintings, full of exquisite color and details, and his authentic retelling of this classic story will captivate young readers and take them back to a dark, mysterious forest, an enticing gingerbread house, and a terrifying witch.

At once beautiful, whimsical, and great fun, Will Moses’ adaptation of Hansel & Gretel is the perfect way to celebrate this ageless and essential fairy tale.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Folk artist Moses (Will Moses' Mother Goose) refrains from adding new elements to or trying to set his own stamp on the text, adhering faithfully to the Grimm Brothers' story. His unique contribution instead comes through in innumerable subtle visual inventions in his oil paintings. Alternating spot illustrations that dot pages of text with wordless full-bleed spreads, he paints forest landscapes thick with spruces and winding streams, a night lit with a moon as warm and orange as a pumpkin, and a witch's house whose architectural details and cozy fittings make its candy decorations seem almost superfluous. Softening the horrors of their prospective roles as the main ingredient of the witch's upcoming feast, Moses shows Hansel and Gretel tucked into beds with fluffy pillows and warm comforters, and while the artist delights in the witch's mole-dotted, shovel-faced appearance, potted plants and a roaring fire warm her breakfast table, and her hat and broom hang neatly by the door. Dropped capital letters interlaced with botanical motifs add to the charm of the book's design; more motifs grace the margins of the text pages. Like the story's final verse ("Sleep well tonight, and don't let this old story give you a fright. Your parents love you dear, and will never let harm come near!"), the whole edition beams optimism and the rewards of resourcefulness. Ages 4-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Will Moses is the great-grandson of the legendary Grandma Moses. Not surprisingly, he carries on the family tradition of folk art in his picture books for children--a style that functions especially well in his retelling of what he calls the Grimm Brothers' "dark . . . cautionary tale." Moses' oils on paper work best when recreating a Bavarian forest with its dark spruce, knobby mountains, and wandering wildlife. And while his "little cottage" is hardly small, it is filled with wonderful painted furniture and period crockery while being surrounded by wickedly skulking wolves. The story itself is told in a straightforward rendition of the original. It is good to have the story back again, but Will Moses' illustrations are what will sell the book: They are a good match to the primitive flavor of the original fairytale. 2006, Philomel/Penguin, Ages 3 to 7.
—Kathleen Karr
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 4-A lushly illustrated rendition of the classic tale. In his preface, Moses acknowledges the dark aspects of the story and uses descriptive words like "harangued" and "vicious tirade" to convey clearly why the "poor" father capitulates to his wife's terrible plan of abandoning the children. He also has the stepmother tie down a sapling to thump against a hollow tree, mimicking the noise of a woodcutter cutting trees, and the children mistakenly believe that their father is nearby. Moses's signature colorful folk art, done in oil on fabriano paper, effectively conveys the flavor of 19th-century German landscapes, houses, and furnishings. Unfortunately, although the text states that the family "lived in a little cottage," the illustrations depict a large, well-furnished home. Additionally, the tiny and static expressions of the children communicate poorly the powerful emotions reflective of their ordeal. In contrast, Paul Zelinsky's illustrations in Rika Lesser's retelling (Putnam, 1989) poignantly portray the children, demonstrating how integral their expressions are in developing the fear and tension that permeate the tale. In a final addition, Moses feels compelled to reassure his listeners, "Sleep well tonight, and don't let this old story give you a fright. Your parents love you dear and will never let harm come near!" An additional purchase.-Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma Library, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Strong, atmospheric illustrations compensate, at least in part, for less than smooth writing in this version of the old domestic drama. Well-populated with bears, wolves, mushrooms, dark glades and massive pines, the forest really looks "ancient and mysterious" in both the smaller views and the several wordless full spreads. In contrast, the witch's manor-sized house gleams with tempting, sugary goodness on the outside, and cheery hominess within-a hominess that is echoed by the rustic, flower-painted furnishings of Hansel and Gretel's home in the final scene, as the errant children and their father reunite in a joyful embrace. For text, Moses keeps reasonably close to the original's tone and pacing, but he refers to "another famine" without having mentioned an earlier one, and adds a gratuitous detail by ascribing the evil stepmother's death to "a black heart." There isn't exactly a need for another "Hansel and Gretel," but visually at least this ranks with Moses's best work. No source note. (Picture book/folktale. 9-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399242342
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/19/2006
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 368,145
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.60 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Painting is as much a part of the Moses family tradition as the family homestead in Eagle Bridge, New York. There Will Moses has painted since he was a little boy, learning firsthand from his grandfather, folk artist Forrest Moses, who learned from his mother, Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known as Grandma Moses. Developing his own folk style, Will has become an internationally beloved artist in his own right, his art displayed in collections throughout the world, including that of the White House.

His first picture book, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, a retelling of Washington Irving's famous tale, was published by Philomel in 1995.

Will Moses' studio is at the Mount Nebo Gallery and Farm in Eagle Bridge, where he lives with his wife, Sharon, and their three children.

Painting is as much a part of the Moses family tradition as the family homestead in Eagle Bridge, New York. There Will Moses has painted since he was a little boy, learning firsthand from his grandfather, folk artist Forrest Moses, who learned from his mother, Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known as Grandma Moses. Developing his own folk style, Will has become an internationally beloved artist in his own right, his art displayed in collections throughout the world, including that of the White House.

His first picture book, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, a retelling of Washington Irving's famous tale, was published by Philomel in 1995.

Will Moses' studio is at the Mount Nebo Gallery and Farm in Eagle Bridge, where he lives with his wife, Sharon, and their three children.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    NEW LIFE FOR HANSEL & GRETEL

    Some of us have been fortunate enough to visit the Mount Nebo Gallery & Farm in Eagle Bridge, New York where artist Will Moses works. It is here in the 200 year old white farmhouse where his great-grandmother, Anna Mary Robertson Moses, known as Grandma Moses, began her career that he continues the family tradition of creating warm, endearing folk art paintings that are recognized throughout the world. Those who have not made the pilgrimage to the tiny town of Eagle Bridge are fortunate that he illustrates children's books so that we and our young ones can enjoy his unique works of art. While some may think of the classic fairy tale of Hansel & Gretel as a rather dark story, it is not in the hands of Will Moses. It is rather a coming of age tale, and a reminder that good does win out over evil. It is also a story of courage, survival and love as Hansel leaves a trail of pebbles so that they may find their way out of the dark forest to their home. Of course, as we know their cruel stepmother, would again try to abandon the children in the forest but this time Hansel had no pebbles to mark their trail. Their trials, tribulations eventual happy ending are known to all, but not to the next generation. Thanks to Will Moses the story of Hansel & Gretel has been given new life. Highly recommended. - Gail Cooke

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