A retelling of eight familiar tales (along with the title story, ""Hansel and Gretel,"" ""The Tinderbox,"" ""Rapunzel,"" ""Vipers and Pearls,"" ""Bluebeard,"" ""The Girl Who Stepped on a Loaf,"" and ""Something More . . ."") in language that stays close to the original tone and timbre, with the complexities of nuance and situation intact. Neither surprising interpretations nor overriding themes inform the collection or tie the stories together. Why these eight, why this mood--the personality or mission of the selector is all but absent. The illustrations have the illusory edges of dream landscapes, with attenuated, neurasthenic figures and some very strange animal creatures. It's an elegant, but very cold, package, without a ready audience; the text is too long for young children, and the storybook format may put off older ones.