Gr 4 Up—In 1812, the Brothers Grimm published the story of "Hansel and Gretel," about a brother and sister who must survive abandonment by their parents and being captured by a hungry witch. In 2007, Mattotti created compelling black-and-white artwork for the fairy tale. This exhibit inspired Gaiman to write his own version, and Mattotti's images and Gaiman's text are combined in this book. While not in the traditional graphic novel format, this illustrated short story alternates between images and words, allowing for full spreads of the artist's drawings, punctuated by intermittent spreads of text. There is no question that Gaiman is an incredibly gifted wordsmith, and his retelling hearkens back to the Grimms's original narrative. The most inspirational part of this book is Mattotti's artwork. Pitch-black India ink is used to great effect, creating dark and terrifying landscapes that threaten to envelop the tiny figures of the children. An extensive note on the history of the tale's origins is included as back matter. Mattotti's amazing work will inspire a new generation of readers, and this volume will give chills. The oversize deluxe edition features a die-cut cover.—Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library
Hansel and Gretel astonishes from start to finish…The book itself is a gorgeous and carefully made object…Their rendition brings a freshness and even a feeling of majesty to the little tale.
—New York Times
If this isn't the definitive edition of "Hansel and Gretel," it's absolutely necessary. ... The swirling lines look as though they might start moving if seen at just the right moment. The pictures have inspired Gaiman to write some of his most beautiful sentences... Grimm version is as frightening as a bedtime story gets, but this version will scare people in new ways, and some of those people may need to start drawing right away.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Master storyteller Gaiman plumbs the dark depths of Hansel and Gretel... Italian illustrator Mattotti contributes elegant b&w ink spreads that alternate with spreads of text. His artistry flows from the movement of his brush and the play of light and shadow. ... Gaiman makes the story’s horrors feel very real and very human, and Mattotti’s artwork is genuinely chilling.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Newbery Medal–winner Neil Gaiman retells Hansel and Gretel as a story of parents plotting a murder by neglect, with full-spread India ink compositions by Lorenzo Mattotti as dark and terrifying as his forest setting. ... Gaiman's text is a study in minimalism, yet he includes every salient detail... A perfectly frightful treat.
—Shelf Awareness (starred review)
On simple, well-designed pages of just text, Gaiman tells a fairly standard version of Hansel and Gretel. And while the story is unsettling enough on its own, it’s Mattotti’s full-bleed india ink illustrations that dial up the creep factor. ... Mattotti masterfully and subtly uses negative space so each image isn’t immediately noticeable, like the most menacing game of hide-and-seek, and the abrupt oscillation between the clean, white pages of words and the silent, chilling dusky pictures is striking. While this isn’t a graphic novel per se, Gaiman’s fans and lovers of visual storytelling will devour this eerie version of a classic.
There is no question that Gaiman is an incredibly gifted wordsmith, and his retelling hearkens back to the Grimms’s original narrative. The most inspirational part of this book is Mattotti’s artwork. Pitch-black India ink is used to great effect, creating dark and terrifying landscapes that threaten to envelop the tiny figures of the children. An extensive note on the history of the tale’s origins is included as back matter. Mattotti’s amazing work will inspire a new generation of readers, and this volume will give chills.
—School Library Journal
I love Gaiman’s and Mattotti’s Hansel & Gretel. The writing is rich. ("They went so deep into the old forest that the sunlight was stained green by the leaves.") And the art is striking. I have never seen a more chill-inducing rendition of the witch's gingerbread cottage. I swear it looks like there's a skull atop it.
—Julie Danielson, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Some books you’re excited about because you like the author and you know what to expect. Others are exciting because you like the author and you have no idea what to expect. That’s the case with this TOON Books version of Hansel & Gretel written by Neil Gaiman.
—Travis Jonker, 100 Scope Notes
[Gaiman and Mattotti] tell this Grimm's tale the way it should be told: fiercely and beautifully.
When it comes to new takes on fairy tales, the most spectacular by far is Neil Gaiman's brilliant new Hansel and Gretel.
—The Buffalo News