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Hansel and Gretel Hardcover – September 23, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 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
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Review

"* "Draws on the idea of hope and courage within the story, making it much more than a simple fairy tale." A Patchwork of Books blog" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 810L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (September 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763640123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763640125
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.5 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,049,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Morpurgo is one of Britain's best-loved children's book writers. He has written more than 100 books and has won the Smarties Prize, the Whitbread Award, and most recently the Blue Peter Book Award for PRIVATE PEACEFUL. He is also the author of WAR HORSE, which has been made into a Tony Award-winning Broadway play and a Golden Globe-nominated film. Michael was Writer in Residence at The Savoy Hotel from January to March 2007, and previously he was Children's Laureate from 2003-2005, a role that took him across Britain to inspire a love of reading in children. You can visit him online at www.michaelmorpurgo.com.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It is an utter delight to read this Morpurgo retelling of this famous yet spine-chilling Grimm tale. What I like about this book is that it does not make the story too infantile. Instead Morpurgo expands the story by defining characters and highlighting the dark themes inherent in the story, so adults can enjoy this novel-length version too.

I love the way that Morpourgo brings out the character of the story. It is a direct, fluid, concise retelling that also fleshes out the characters. There are various touches that allow the story to take flight while remaining true to the Grimms. I love how the children are perceptive and proactive when reacting to their various predicaments. I love the way that he conflates the stepmother and the witch into one character. It allows us to see how the stepmother wants to go all out to destroy the children, both by marrying the husband and turning herself into the witch in the gingerbread house. As such he makes the motives clear to the readers. I also love the way that he brings out the terror of this fairy-tale so that it doesn't become too cosy. Morpurgo accentuates the dark themes in this story, for instance, the famine backdrop, the dominance of the wicked stepmother and even the wolves that prowl the forest around Hansel and Gretel. So this allows the reader to share in the experiences with the protagonists.

Morpurgo's words are well-matched by the atmospheric Emma Chichester Clark illustrations. They suit the material very well and draw the reader into the story.

This is, in short, a delectable version of the fairy tale, better than any infantile retellings of this kind of story.
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By Dr. Peter Davies on September 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover
My daughter is getting bigger and we can start tackling bigger books now. My daughter reads some of the book, and then gets me to read a bit more of it to her. This one is a good start. It is beautifully illustrated, and so the immediate visual impressions are favourable.

The writing is just as good as the pictures. Michael Morpurgo has done a superb job in bringing the story to life, and making the characters deeper and more vivid than in briefer retellings of this story.

This is an excellent book, and I think children between 6 and 10 will appreciate it, both for its beuaty, and for the rich characters described within it. Adults will enjoy reading it to their children- which is always a good sign in a children's book.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book to my 3rd grade class. Needless to say they were thrilled with the book. Some of the words were a little hard for them, but they understood from the context and a bit of explanation on my part. What a wonderful retelling of this book, with just enough of the familiar to have you coming back for more.
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By Karen on January 16, 2013
Format: Unknown Binding Verified Purchase
My son loves this book!
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