Review Blog

May 27 2009

Hansel and Gretel by Anthony Browne

cover image

Walker Books, 2008. ISBN 9781406318524
(Ages 3+) In this reprint, Anthony Browne puts a modern slant on the original dark fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm with his contemporary illustrations. Hansel and Gretel are portrayed as two ordinary children, living in what looks like a two storey suburban house. Their hen-pecked father and dark haired stepmother are dressed in everyday clothes. The dark greens and browns of the towering trees in the woods create an eerie atmosphere, while the strange little creatures that can be found on a close inspection of the illustrations add a scary touch.
Like all Browne's books, this is one that contains many layers that can be uncovered and pondered on. Children will delight in the story, which lends itself to read aloud sessions, and many discussions could follow about the cleverness of the children and why the children's father left them in the forest. The big one page illustrations beg to be examined again and again and add a wonderful dimension to the well known fairy tale.
Pat Pledger

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