It’s the time of year to build gingerbread houses covered with candies, but I’ve been mesmerized by the new Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman (a favorite around here) and Lorenzo Mattotti, and their interpretation of the classic Grimm story of the wicked woman who lives in a real gingerbread house.
Gaiman is a master storyteller, with a welcoming way of telling even the spookiest story. He draws you in with his words, the way Mattotti does with his illustrations, writing in a captivating first person narrative: Back then, we all lived on the edge of the great forest…
Mattotti’s dark, lifelike illustrations have amazing depth and movement. They nearly come off the page to draw you into the great forest where Hansel and Gretel live. They’re eerie and black, but there’s an urgency to them that feels hopeful at times–great for kids who aren’t yet familiar with the story’s ending.
Sensitive kids might find the darkness of this fairy tale a little creepy, but if yours like the oddities offered by the likes of Roald Dahl, Lemony Snicket, or even Edward Gorey, Hansen and Gretel is an excellent retelling. It’s also making me look at that gingerbread house on my kitchen table a little more warily now.
Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman and Lorenzo Mattotti is available at our affiliate Amazon or your local bookstore.