I should be honest–as much as I like fairy tales I’ve never really cared for Hansel and Gretel. A brother and sister being left in a forest to starve and die by their cruel stepmother and cowardly father. Then for the siblings to find the gingerbread house in the middle of the woods. We’re all aware of what happens next. As a child I always wanted an explanation. Why was the stepmother so cruel? Why was the father such a coward?
Cynthia Rylant’s retelling of Hansel and Gretel is the story that’s been missing. In the beginning,
It has been said that guardian spirits watch over and protect small children, and that may be so. But there are also stories of children who find the courage to protect themselves.
Such is the story of Hansel and Gretel.
Instantly I was lost inside this short tale. With illustrations by Jen Corace, it’s a new classic. What’s different about this re-telling from all others is the feel and language of the book.
The father and the stepmother again told the children to wait under a tree, promising this time certainly to return with berries.
The children waited all night. By morning they were waiting still.
I read Hansel and Gretel in one sitting and reread it before getting up. This book will be a new addition to my children’s library.
- Hansel and Gretel by Cynthia Rylant (2008)
- Illustrated by Jen Coarce
- Hyperion Books for Children
- 32 pages
Read for the Once Upon a Time, Young Readers, and 100+ challenges