Hansel & Gretel by Neil Gaiman

Best-selling author Neil Gaiman and fine artist Lorenzo Mattotti join forces to create Hansel & Gretel, a stunning book that’s at once as familiar as a dream and as evocative as a nightmare. Mattotti’s sweeping ink illustrations capture the terror and longing found in the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale. Gaiman crafts an original text filled with his signature wit and pathos that is sure to become a favorite of readers everywhere, young and old.

hansel

Immediately, the atmospheric silhouette cover hints at the darkness inside this classic fairy tale. Since Neil Gaiman is known for his creepy storytelling, like The Graveyard Book, I was expecting something more than a basic retelling of Hansel & Gretel.  I was hoping for an interesting twist or surprise!

Luckily, between the text pages, interesting black and white spreads visually capture the reader.  The scratchy dark images look like a nightmare. Perfect for lines like, “They slept as deeply and soundly as if their food had been drugged. And it had (pg36).” How eerie yet fun would that be to read aloud to brave kids?

Upon the story’s conclusion, readers are treated to a bonus in the publisher’s note.   The note details the historical origin of Hansel & Gretel, including a bibliography.  I had never heard of the other folk tales, like “Nennillo and Nennella”.   If you liked Hansel & Gretel, try A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.   It’s also a dark tale with the same sort of creepy black and white illustrations throughout.

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