An omniscient narrator battles Hansel and Gretel for control of the story…and loses, to readers’ delight.
At the start, this seems like the standard fairy tale, but it’s not long before the siblings are contradicting the narrator: “What kind of person SAVES bread crumbs?” Gretel asks, and Hansel adds, “It’s a time of great famine. If there are bread crumbs left, we eat them.” These cheeky retorts only grow more numerous as the tale continues. Gretel also flexes her feminist muscles, demanding the title be “Gretel and Hansel” and that she not do chores while Hansel gets fattened up on a candy diet (or swells from a sensitivity to strawberries, as it turns out: “Food allergies are NOT a joke”). Eventually, the narrator gives up trying to fix the tale and gives the two full control, and things quickly get out of hand: Both end up sporting mustaches, there’s a unicorn named Fluffybottom, and the kids are reunited with their completely innocent parents. Taylor’s digital illustrations take the loony text several steps farther, and readers will enjoy the cameos from characters from other familiar tales. Hansel, Gretel, and their parents present white, and the witch is literally white, with a long, pink nose.
A twisted take on an old standard that just may have readers rewriting their own favorites. (Picture book. 4-8)