Hansel & Gretel (Holly Hobbie)

Hansel & Gretel by Holly Hobbie. Little, Brown and Company, 2015.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve! We're having the first of two dinners this afternoon, and tonight is final dress rehearsal for our community theatre production of A Christmas Story, but I wanted to pop in and share a book. Little Sis received it from my dad for her birthday. If you've read this blog for a while, you'll know we love our fairy tales. We love creepiness, and we love "Hansel and Gretel." (See here and here, too.) I've also written about my childhood love for all things Holly Hobbie, so you know, we had to have this book in our collection! 

It seems fitting to blog this book today, because as a fairy tale, food figures so prominently in the story. First, it's the lack thereof, then there is the house. The house. (Yum.) And of course, there's the feast the witch plans...


Holly Hobbie keeps the text simple, in that she allows her gorgeous watercolors room to tell the story. By simple, I only mean lack of words. "Hansel and Gretel" is a creepy fairy tale, and this retelling is no exception.

The stepmother is as unpleasant as she should be.


The gingerbread house isn't the most elaborate, but the gingerbread people in front almost make up for it.


I think her witch may be one of the most unsettling I've seen in picture books. That pale face, and those eyes!




She puts Hansel in the cage, and forces Gretel to feed him. And yes, there's an illustration of the witch sharpening her knife, as she decides to eat both children!

Don't worry. Gretel still wins.




If you or your young one is a fairy tale fan, and not particularly disturbed by the darker elements of the story, I must highly recommend this one. Christmas is coming...


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