A new version of the Grimms’ tale, told from the witch’s perspective.
The text immediately establishes the witch, named Willow, as a “good witch” who lives in a gingerbread house. When she encounters two children in the forest, she asks them to help clean up the trail of breadcrumbs they’ve left behind so it won’t attract mice. Alas, they refuse, and then Willow is aghast to find them, not mice, nibbling on her house. But because she’s a good witch, she doesn’t get angry; instead, she invites the children inside and prepares a meal. They leave no food for her and proceed to otherwise behave badly, but she “did not get angry, because Willow was a good witch” (a refrain). The mischief culminates in the children’s shoving Willow into an oven so they can have the house to themselves, and then they destroy it. Magical Willow emerges unscathed—and finally angry. A wordless spread depicts her with the children in a cooking pot and ingredients and cooking implements (including gingerbread-cookie cutters like those depicted on the case cover) surrounding them. The final image, like all the rest rendered in a limited black, orange, and white color palette and a bold, graphic style, depicts a gingerbread girl and boy on a plate: Hansel and Gretel have gotten their just deserts by becoming dessert for Willow, who “wasn’t ALWAYS a good witch.”
Delicious. (Picture book. 4-8)