Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Valeria Manferto De Fabians, Brothers Grimm
Illustrator: Agnes Baruzzi
Publisher: Sterling Children"s Books
Hansel and Gretel, is a story written by the Brothers Grimm. In this retelling, Hansel and Gretel overhear their stepmother forcing their father to abandon his children in the forest the next day. Hansel goes out and collects white stones that night so that he can leave a trail to return home. When they return after the attempted abandonment, their father is happy, however their stepmother is furious and insists that their father do the same thing the next day. This time Hansel leaves a breadcrumb trail, which is eaten by the birds. Lost, Hansel and Gretel find a gingerbread house and are invited in by a witch, who then imprisons Hansel with the intention of fattening him to eat. Eventually, just as the witch is about to cook Hansel, Gretel shoves the witch into the oven. The children set off for home, where their father is overjoyed to see them and their stepmother has died.
This particular retelling is especially enjoyable because of the illustrations and paper engineering by Agnes Baruzzi. After every couple of pages, a thick piece of craft paper is inserted between a two page illustration and has elaborate cutouts that go with the illustration. Additionally, each spread with text has an overriding color scheme and pattern behind the words with at least one simple illustration to accompany the words. The character and background designs are fairly simplistic, but this is to make the cutout pages match the illustrations. While this book would be excellent to read to children, it is not ideal to be read by young children since the cutout pages have thin paper sticking out that can rip if not handled carefully.