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Hansel and Gretel Hardcover – April 2, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

As in The Princess and the Pea (2007) and numerous other retellings, Isadora sets a traditional European fairy tale in an African setting. This time, Isadora chooses one of the scariest stories ever told about small kids who must fight evil, powerful adults. Spare prose combines with lush, bright cut-paper collage illustrations that show Hansel and Gretel abandoned in the dense forest, lured and locked up, and then finally triumphant after they trick the witch and push her into the burning oven. The immensely detailed double-page spreads are dense with jungle animals and plants, but the real terror is inside the witch’s house, filled with dark silhouettes. Drawing on beautiful, geometric African patterns common to traditional Kente cloth, Isadora balances her compositions with soothing white space. Kids will be held by this strong retelling of the familiar story about a brave boy and girl who overcome a looming threat and find their way home. Preschool-Grade 2. --Hazel Rochman

Review

[Isadora pieces] colorfully patterned and hand-painted papers together to create bold, busy eye-catching scenes with a strong ethnic feel...[a] highly artistic...presentation. --School Library Journal
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 470 (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (April 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039925028X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399250286
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 0.3 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Deb HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Once upon a time in Africa there lived a woodcutter and his wife who had fallen on some very tough times. His wife, the selfish stepmother of his two children, decided that the best idea would be to take them and take them"deep into the forest" and leave them there. They were going to starve if they kept those kids and if he didn't agree to that she was going to bother him forever and a day. Hansel and Gretel overheard them talking and were prepared to get through the ordeal by collecting pebbles to drop along the way so they could wend their way home.

The next night, when they had been abandoned in the forest it was so dark and scary to be out in the open under starry skies that Gretel began to cry. Hansel hugged and comforted her telling her not to worry. Of course the "pebbles Hansel had dropped glistened in the moonlight and the children followed them home." The stepmother was so mad she looked like she was going to pop any minute. The children were locked in the house and were unable to collect more pebbles. This time when they were taken into the forest they dropped bits of bread, only to have birds devour them. They came across a house "built entirely for bread with a roof made of cake and windows made of sugar." Very soon the children were captured by a wicked witch whose only plan was to fatten up poor Hansel and have a "tasty meal." Were they ever going to get out of this mess alive?

This "retold" story was very appealing, not so much for the story line, but rather the art work. The combination of bold painted strokes and collage melded together to create an endearing family group on the one hand and a wicked stepmother and an evil witch on the other.
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Format: Hardcover
Rachel Isadora retells fairy tales beautifully. I teach 4th grade in Brooklyn, NY. The children love when I read her stories. It is nice to see fairy tales that include people of different ethnic backgrounds. Not only that, her illustrations are beautiful! My eyes love looking at each page. Her books are worth buying at any price!
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Format: Hardcover
"Hansel and Gretel" is one of the new books that are out there that re-tell traditional stories in an African setting. In this case, both the text and the artwork is by Rachel Isadora, who has also done "Rapunzel" Rapunzel and "Princess and the Pea" The Princess and the Pea.

Isadora's artwork in this book is delightful. It's bright and abstract and full of the emotion of subtle brushstrokes. The story, for those who are interested in such things, follows the traditional one, which means that the evil step-mother conjoles the father into taking the children deep into the jungle where they are to be abandoned. And keeping with the ancient theme, the witch is shoved into the oven where she burns up.

Talking Points:::
I really liked that the author placed this traditional story in another setting. Her artwork is colorful and in an collage form that is very appealing.

I thought the story itself will work best for children that already know the story as there were little leaps in the narrative.

The artwork is so good and effective that adults ought to consider whether it's appropriate for very young children. I would not have read it to my children when they were toddlers nor preschoolers. They enjoyed it very much now that they are older. (**3.5 Stars**)

Pam T~
mom and reviewer at BooksForKids-reviews
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Format: Hardcover
Rachel Isadora's "Hansel and Gretel" is a retelling of the classic Grimm fairytale, moving the setting to Africa. The story is very similar to the Grimm fairytale, the main difference being the distinctly African flavor of the setting and characters. It is quite a refreshing spin on the traditional folktale and my preschooler and I loved the illustrations, well, all except one - the depiction of the witch. I felt the witch was overly demonized in her depiction and my preschooler visibly shrank away from the book when we came to the part which showed the witch. This might scare off younger readers, so I would be cautious in recommending this book to those below 4. Other than that, the collages are beautiful to look at and the colors used are bright and vivid. I liked that the author chose to retell this classic in an African setting if only because it provides a fresh perspective and also because I feel fairy tales hold universal appeal. Recommended for ages 5 and up [in my opinion].
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bought as gift for friend retiring. She loved it. Very nice cup. Great gift for someone retiring. I loved it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved the retelling of this classic fairy tale, because of its fabulous illustrations. How imaginative!
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