When Hansel and Gretel overheard their father, King of Grimm, explain why he tried to kill them, they ran away. Although they had never been out in the big world, they were certain they could find a nice family to live with. Easier than it sounds! First there is the witch (you know that version), next comes the mean farmer. Even trying to live by themselves didn't work, and the two are separated and take different paths. Having failed to find nice people and now living alone, they return to Grimm. They are surprised to learn that the kingdom is being destroyed by a dragon. Can they forgive their parents and help the kingdom?
The story is creative and unique. I love the premise not just of having a backstory, but more depth to the characters of Hansel and Gretel and their sibling relationship.
Highly recommend that you read this before your children. Some of the "fairy tale" violence is more gruesome and detailed than you might expect. While I personally didn't like it, the events did fit with the story. Throughout the story, the narrator constantly pauses to warn readers about upcoming violence. The "threat level" varied from page-to-page to the point it became impossible to separate a true warning from sarcasm.
This is for readers who like stories that verge on horror.
Readers who like a little dark humor that mixes with horrified suspense will "eat up" this retelling of Hansel and Gretel.
Like the original fairy tale, this story contains violence. The author reminds readers that the original Grimm stories were not for children. Throughout the book, the author warns the reader about gory, gruesome events (e.g., beheading, chopping off fingers). There is lots of blood. With regard to the narration warnings: readers who don't like lots of asides may find this annoying.
This fractured fairy tale changes the premise and adventures of Hansel and Gretel.
Gidwitz's novel re-imagines the story of Hansel and Gretel. Readers who love that fairy tale may enjoy identifying characters and themes that are similar (or different). Use this as an example for re-creating other fairy tales. This is a perfect activity for a car trip or a family dinner discussion.
10 and Up
11 and Up
Borrow. We recommend parental reading before handing this to a child. The violence is pretty gruesome in places.