HANSEL AND GRETEL by Beni Montresor


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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Montresor, best known for his Caldecott-winning May I Bring a Friend (1965), uses silhouetted figures set against backdrops of vividly colored cut-paper collages in this retelling of a classic. In keeping with the story, the art is childlike yet bold and dramatic. Would that the text were rendered so well. For the most part, the narrative is flat and the story almost unrecognizable. The children get lost while picking strawberries, fall asleep and dream of angels, and wake to find a castle where at least they meet the witch from the original version. Granted, this is a scary tale, but even though Montresor’s version is geared toward the younger set, some details of the plot—along with the accompanying art—have the potential to frighten the smallest readers and listeners. So while there is a big, bright, smiling sun at the end—which looks as if it could have been drawn by a small child—there are also devils and menacing-looking witches and lots of flames issuing from a large vat. Not the best version of this story that ever was, it should be considered supplemental for large library collections and only where yet another retelling is desired. (Folklore. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-84144-2
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2001