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adapted by Will Moses & illustrated by Will Moses

Age Range: 9 - 11

Pub Date: March 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-399-24234-1
Publisher: Philomel

Strong, atmospheric illustrations compensate, at least in part, for less than smooth writing in this version of the old domestic drama. Well-populated with bears, wolves, mushrooms, dark glades and massive pines, the forest really looks “ancient and mysterious” in both the smaller views and the several wordless full spreads. In contrast, the witch’s manor-sized house gleams with tempting, sugary goodness on the outside, and cheery hominess within—a hominess that is echoed by the rustic, flower-painted furnishings of Hansel and Gretel’s home in the final scene, as the errant children and their father reunite in a joyful embrace. For text, Moses keeps reasonably close to the original’s tone and pacing, but he refers to “another famine” without having mentioned an earlier one, and adds a gratuitous detail by ascribing the evil stepmother’s death to “a black heart.” There isn’t exactly a need for another “Hansel and Gretel,” but visually at least this ranks with Moses’s best work. No source note. (Picture book/folktale. 9-11)