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HANSEL AND GRETEL by Rachel Isadora


adapted by Rachel Isadora & illustrated by Rachel Isadora

Age Range: 5 - 7

Pub Date: April 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-399-25028-6
Publisher: Putnam

Another African-acculturated fairy tale by Isadora continues her sequence of retellings depicted with textured collages in vivid colors. The straightforward account dispatches the witch by burning her up in the oven (a large stone fireplace) and kills the mean stepmother offstage, with the children returning home to their loving father. The brightly colored scenes weave a variety of flora and fauna into the backgrounds, the children wear African-styled clothing and Gretel sports dreadlocks. The witch is genuinely scary, but the “gingerbread” house doesn’t look like the description at all: “they came to a little house built entirely of bread with a roof made of cake and windows made of sugar.” Nothing about the illustration suggests a house made of candy: The roof is pink with cut-outs of chocolate bon-bons pasted on, the cross-hatched door is daubed with magenta and brown and the sides look like fabric imprints. All in all, this sequence raises the question, do the classic tales need remodeling? (Picture book/fairy tale. 5-7)