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Hansel and Gretel (Picture Puffins) Paperback – September 10, 1994


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Series: Picture Puffins
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; Reprint edition (September 10, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140508368
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140508369
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.1 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

James Marshall--creator of the well-loved George and Martha books--infuses merriment into the grimmest of the Brothers Grimm tales. His cheerful, cartoonish art is the perfect foil for this dark story, making it somewhat less scary, though by no means benign. A poor woodcutter lives with his wife and two children, Hansel and Gretel. His wife (the children's stepmother) doesn't like the youngsters, complaining, "Those wretched children of yours are gobbling everything up!" She persuades the loving but weak-willed woodcutter to take the children into the woods and abandon them to the wilderness. Hansel, first with white pebbles, then with bread crumbs, valiantly tries to lead his sister back to the house, but when the bread crumbs are eaten by birds, they are stuck. Much to their glee, the children eventually find a "small house made of cookies and candy, spun sugar and cake." But if you think this is a happy ending, think again! The weird, bawdy witch who lives in the delectable house cages Hansel (to fatten him up like a veal) and enslaves Gretel. Gretel pushes the witch into the oven as an unfortunate but necessary means to save her brother.

Marshall has winningly retold and illustrated other fairy tales, including Goldilocks and the Three Bears, a Caldecott Honor Book. Here, Marshall's retelling of this rather horrifying story contains just the right comic touches to match his artwork. The text is set in large type, with short lines, making it a natural for first- or second-grade readers. Marshall's wonderful illustrations guarantee that the story of Hansel and Gretel will once again leave youngsters spellbound. (Ages 5 to 8) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Marshall's trademark wit and slyness mark every page of this effervescent interpretation. Never has there been a more horribly magnificent witch than his--an overstuffed, cackling harridan resplendent in scarlet costume, lipstick and rouge, her hair bedecked with incongruously delicate bows. She is matched, perhaps even surpassed, in girth by the woodcutter's bad-tempered wife, whose piggish eyes, ferocious countenance and caustic barbs will prompt delicious shivers. The children triumph over both in high style, proving themselves worthy successors to the fairytale characters who have previously found new life in Marshall's hands. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

I bought the book for my 6 year old grandson.
Barbara Taylor
Of course, you can't always plan for those unintended consequences.
M. Heiss
The kids enjoyed looking at the booking and reading the story.
Sara

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ulyyf on May 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
I was reluctant to pick up this copy of Hansel and Gretel because of the illustrations. I thought they were too comic, really. Hansel and Gretel is supposed to be a dark, scary story with mean mommies, starvation, and cannibalism! I was sure that the cartoony illustrations portrayed a light and funny version. And while some people prefer light and funny versions, I'm not one of those people.

Well, I was wrong! This version hews very closely to the one I learned as a young kid reading a tattered fairy tale collection. The mother is wicked, the father is weak-willed, the witch eats children (nobody turns into cookies, thank you very much). The author even remembered the detail about Hansel originally leaving out pebbles, and about a bird bringing them across the lake to home!

This was a very pleasant surprise for me, let me tell you.

The illustrations still aren't my thing, but this book has a well-deserved place on my bookshelf.

A word of warning: Obviously, this story can be scary for some children. While many children LIKE scary stories with their chills and thrills, just as many don't. I assume you know your own kid best, so please just use your judgment about this book, and if in doubt, read it before you buy it :)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Heiss on September 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
Hansel and Gretel *is* a scary story, but James Marshall ("Miss Nelson is Missing!") illustrates it marvellously. At first I thought the illustrations were going to be too clownish and cartoony, but there is a lot going on in every illustration. The forest is dark, the candy house is irresistable, and the witch is not nearly as scary as the mother. (!)

Kids are resilient and good at solving problems in their own ways. That goes for Gretel -- this book shows her trusting her instincts. And for Hansel -- he figures out how to track his way back through the woods. Of course, you can't always plan for those unintended consequences.

Very well done fairy tale. Much longer than our other James Marshall fairy tales. We like it very well.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By aaa-Pam TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
Just in case you didn't know it, this is one of the Brothers Grimm stories in which mom and dad are not good guys. [To me the mother is portrayed as being scarier than the witch.] In mom's case, faced with starvation, it is she who suggests leaving the children in the woods. In dad's case, he doesn't have the backbone to stand up to her, and thus he falls to villainy as well.

James Marshall stays with the original aspects of the story although he gives it his own twist with his highly distinctive art style.

On the positive side, the story highlights the children's creativeness in solving their problems. It ends with them coming home to the loving arms of their father. Their so-called mother has died while they were being held captive by the witch.

Four Stars. [B-] Marshall's usual clever artwork. Good Read-aloud. This book has more text than most of Marshall's efforts. There is a little name calling in places, and I agree with the other reviewer that this book isn't humorous.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By HelpingDelayedKids.com on October 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
I love this book....great illustrations...perfect for catching the imagination of my speech delayed 4 year old...but I agree with the first reviewer who said that the words are a bit scary...a la fratured fairy tales..so no problem, I changed the words as I read the story...because I don't want to explain why the woodcutter's wife actually was bad and wanted to leave the kids in the woods..but here is the funny part, my son figured out the whole story anywau and he loves it. We have re-enacted it out several times in floortime play...it is a great story for learning about feelings and emotions during pretend play.
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By Mama Tina on December 28, 2010
Format: Library Binding
Our daughter who is six received this for Christmas, and we're so happy for her. We have been checking out all of James Marshall's stories out of the library for months now, and are pleased to now own this one. We love the personality and attitude he adds to the usual fairy tales.
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By Sara on July 21, 2013
Format: Audio Cassette Verified Purchase
I teach music. The Theatre Arts teacher and I used this book in a project we did on Hansel and Gretel. The kids enjoyed looking at the booking and reading the story. I am glad we bought it.
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By Barbara Taylor on February 5, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought the book for my 6 year old grandson. He's just learning to read. The book was easy to read and he really enjoyed reading it to the family. A really great book.
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By Sylverdollar on December 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book! I love this book. I recommend this highly. James Marshall is the best children's author out there. It has great illustrations and is simply delightful.
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More About the Author

James Marshall (1942-1992) created dozens of exuberant and captivating books for children, including THE STUPIDS, MISS NELSON IS MISSING!, and the ever-popular GEORGE AND MARTHA books. Before creating his canon of classic, hilarious children's books, James Marshall played the viola, studied French, and received a master's degree from Trinity College. He also doodled. It was the doodles, and the unforgettable characters that emerged from them, that led him to his life's work as one of the finest creators of children's books of the twentieth century. In 2007, James Marshall was posthumously awarded the Laura Ingalls Wilder medal for his lasting contribution to literature for children.

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