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Hansel and Gretel

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4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  1,979 Ratings  ·  118 Reviews
"Artfully understated retelleing and magnificent apintings result in an unsurpassable presentation of the ancient fairytale. This is a triumph of children's literature, for all ages." --Publisher's WeeklyA Caldecott Medal Honor Book
Paperback
Published November 12th 1996 by Puffin Books (first published 1984)
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Community Reviews

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Ahmad Sharabiani
Hansel and Gretel, Rika Lesser
Rika Lesser (born 1953 Brooklyn, New York) is a U.S. poet, and is a translator of Swedish and German literary works. Books: Hansel and Gretel, Etruscan things, Questions of Love: New and Selected Poems, All We Need of Hell
Manybooks
Rika Lesser's retelling of the Grimm's Hansel and Gretel (with Paul O. Zelinsky's glowing, expressive and painterly illustrations) is what I humbly call a perfect marriage of text and image. Often, retold fairy tales can be rather pale, barely adequate reflections of their original, but Lesser's text is really and truly as close to and as authentic an adaptation of the Grimm's original as possible without being a word-for-word translation, capturing ALL of the original, both thematically and sty ...more
Peter
Oct 27, 2014 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This wonderful book is beautiful.

We all know the story. In this version, the mother seems to be their real (i.e., birth) mother, although I am not entirely convinced. The father, surely their real father, doesn’t seem to come out much better. (Take away his man card!)

Oddly, the starving family doesn’t look very poor in the illustrations. They have a solid looking, well-furnished house in a lovely location near a forest. They could do a reverse mortgage and raise some cash. Apparently feudal Germ
...more
Amy
Hansel and Gretel had a much more challenging life than I realized. I knew they got lost in the woods and were almost cooked and eaten by an evil old witch, but what I did not know was that it was their own mother's idea to abandon them in the woods to begin with. Crimony, talk about emotional scarring!

The kids had a bit of a hard time reconciling themselves to the cruelty of Hansel and Gretel' s parents (mother in particular), but they finally figured it out. The illustrations in the edition th
...more
Dolly
Jul 08, 2012 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Gorgeous illustrations by Paul O. Zelinsky are the highlight of this retelling of the classic story by Jacob Ludwig Karl Grimm and Wilhelm Karl Grimm. They are certainly worthy of a Caldecott Honor nod.

The narrative appears to be a fairly traditional version of the classic story and the illustrations are very detailed and expressive. We really enjoyed reading this story together.

This book was selected as one of the books for the May 2016- Caldecott Honors discussion at the Picture-Book Club in
...more
Rachel
This was an fascinating variation of the traditional Brothers Grimm tale, "Hansel and Gretel". Rika Lesser used an early version of the folktale as the basis for her story, which makes it a bit darker than newer interpretation, but is more like the story that the Grimm Brothers orginally transcribed. In the book, Hansel and Gretel's family is starving, and their mother (though I have sometimes heard the story as their stepmother, depending on the translation) says the father that they must take ...more
Bookchick
Feb 16, 2017 Bookchick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely stunning illustrations, but the story is the original Grimm/creepy version I remember from my childhood fairytale book. Not for very young or sensitive children. Recommended for elementary-aged students.
Logan
We've been reading folk & fairy tales lately, both for the entertainment and the cultural reference. While Logan didn't enjoy Sleeping Beauty, he really liked Hansel & Gretel. It was interesting to read it to someone who had no idea what was going to happen and had never heard the names. He thought it was very funny when the old witch said, "Nibble, nibble nubble, who gnaws my house to rubble?" A year ago, when he was almost 6, I think this would have scared him. But at almost 7, he was ...more
Michael
This is probably one of the creepier versions of this story, complete with child in cage and old lady falling into the fire. The artwork is the real triumph here: incredibly stylized, lush, and disturbing throughout. I think that is why the illustrator is listed first and in bigger font than the writer/reteller! Still only 4 stars because I can't bring myself to rate Hansel and Gretel a 5, with (view spoiler) ...more
Jenny
A traditional retelling of Hansel and Gretel with paintings by Zelinsky. The illustrations are beautiful and match and strengthen the text.
Agne
I liked the illustrations, but the retelling is not my favorite.
Becky
Beautiful illustrations, true to the original Brother's Grimm tale, and it's the perfect length for my 6 six old.
Stefanie Burns
Jan 31, 2017 Stefanie Burns rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: caldecott-honor
Beautifully illustrated fairy tale based off of Grimm's original ones. Surprisingly, there is a happy ending in this version. When I read it was based off of Grimm's I had assumed that Hansel and Gretel would not fair well in the story.

The illustrations are lifelike and capture the time period accurately. The facial expressions are often sad and dour which also fit perfectly with the story. Great version of an old favorite.
Brandy Programs
This book is a solid 2 1/2 stars. It is a school age children's book. It's about staying calm and outsmarting any situation that you may end up in.
Lindsey Richard
Has a traditional look to it with the old pictures that fill the page and are full of color. It is a great story to teach about stranger danger and doing what they're told because disobeying can get you in trouble. It is a famous story that kids should be familiar with.
Allison Weiler
Jul 01, 2016 Allison Weiler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Title: Hansel and Gretel
Author: Rika Lesser
Illustrator: Paul O. Zelinsky
Genre: Legend
Theme(s): Strategy, Gluttony, Survival
Opening line/sentence: At the edge of a great forest there once lived a poor wood-cutter. He could scarcely manage to feed his wife and his two children, Hansel and Gretel, and this made him miserable.
Brief Book Summary: A starving husband and wife decide to leave their children lost in a forest. While finding their way, Hansel and Gretel stumble across a house made of cand
...more
Jacquelyn Arbegast
This book is an amazing retelling of hansel and gretel with beautiful illustrations.
Mitchell
Caldecott Honor story book. Pretty good retelling of a classic story. A bit wordy for a picture book. The art is pretty good but I don't like the drawings the people in this at all. And in the end it is still just Hansel and Gretel with mean mom and all.
Phyleesha Daigle
This Caldecott Honors book is a classic tale and a brilliant retold version. I remembered this storyline from my childhood, but didn't recall how sad it was. The story is about a family who is poor and struggling to survive on scarce food. The mother convinces the father to bring the kids into the woods and leave them there, but the children had overheard the plan, and left a trail of glistening pebbles to find their way back home. Not too much later, the family starts to run low on food again, ...more
Madie Marie
Apr 09, 2016 Madie Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: traditional
Traditional book number 10- The book starts with Hansel and Gretel's mother talking about not having enough food and needing to take the children into the woods and leaving them there. Hansel hears this plan and goes outside to stuff his pockets with stones. The next morning their parents take them into the woods and leave them. But Hansel had places a stone trail when they left the house and was able to follow it from their place into the woods and back to their house. Their mother was furious ...more
Chelsea Keopraseurt
Hansel and Gretel is a retelling of the fairytale by The Brothers Grimm. The story follows brother and sister, Hansel and Gretel, stuck in the woods, trying to make their way back home. While in the woods, they run into trouble after meeting a wicked witch in a house made of tasty treats. As an adult reading this book, I had a general idea of the plot, however it was interesting to see the details I either overlooked or were added into this rendition. For example, in this story of Hansel and Gre ...more
Katherine Smith
Hansel and Gretel, retold by Rika Lesser and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky is the story of two children who get left in the woods but strategically find their way home despite their encounter with a wicked witch. Two poor parents could not afford to feed their children, so they had a plan to take them into the woods and leave them there. The children overheard their parents plan, and as they set out into the woods, Hansel dropped small pieces of bread every so often along their path. The child ...more
Bonnie Ferrante
Aug 20, 2014 Bonnie Ferrante rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the cover of Hansel and Gretel, Paul O. Zelinsky’s name comes first and is in larger print. The author has translated the story from a transcription by Wilhelm Grimm but it is the illustrations that star in this book. Zelinsky is well knowing for his amazing oil paintings. He again produces full page color illustrations that are fit for framing as works of art. The characters seem alive and the settings are vivid enough to enter. The muted color, shading, and perspective suits the story line ...more
Tamara
Jan 20, 2010 Tamara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Summary: This is one of the many children's stories that haas been heard and passed down through many generations of children. The story is about two children, Hansel and Gretel, who are growing up in a house that has little food and money. To solve the family's problems, the mother tells the father to leave the children in the woods. Hansel and Gretel find their way back home once, but when they are lured into the woods again, will they be so lucky or do they find a more rich and delicious plac ...more
Sarah
Jan 10, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: january-2014
The illustrations in this book were dark and dreary. I assume it is drawn like this because of the nature of the story - the parents willing to leave their children alone in a forest so they can survive - but it left me squinting and wanting to see more detail clearly. If a teacher reads this out loud to a group of children, the illustrations would be difficult to see from far away due to their scale and finite details. The story line was long, but well detailed. I loved the explanation of emoti ...more
Samantha Simmons
In a time of famine, Hansel and Gretel's evil stepmother wants to no longer have to feed them, so she bullies their father into joining her in leading them into the forest to be lost and die. Clever Hans leads the children back to the house once, but the second time his strategy of laying bread crumbs to mark the path back is foiled by some hungry birds. The lost children happen upon a house made of candy, but soon find themselves held captive by the witch who owns it and intends to fatten and e ...more
Raegan Young
In a time of famine, Hansel and Gretel's evil stepmother wants to no longer have to feed them, so she bullies their father into joining her in leading them into the forest to be lost and die. Clever Hans leads the children back to the house once, but the second time his strategy of laying bread crumbs to mark the path back is foiled by some hungry birds. The lost children happen upon a house made of candy, but soon find themselves held captive by the witch who owns it and intends to fatten and e ...more
RLL22016_MarinaVasquez
A family was too poor to buy enough food that the mother had end up telling her husband to take the children to the forest and leave them there, which he was not happy about that idea but did it anyway. Yet, Hansel left a track a pebbles behind to track his steps, so they him and Gretel finding their way home. Next day the same thing happen, but now this time Hansel only had bread to leave behind and once he found out their parent left him and Gretel behind again he went to see his tracks, yet t ...more
Natalie Rion
For my Traditional book choice, I chose "Hansel and Gretel" retold by Rika Lesser and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky. "Hansel and Gretel" is a classic folktale about a brother and sister named Hansel and Gretel. They live with their parents and have hardly any food. Hansel and Gretel are then left in the forest by their parents where they stumble upon a house that is made of all sorts of delicious food. As they begin eating the food that the house is made of, the owner, who is an old lady, come ...more
Meltha
Zelinsky is fast becoming one of my favorite illustrators. His paintings, and they're actual oil paintings, look like something from the early Renaissance, and they're full of detail as well as portraying characters and settings so clearly that it's easy to believe they're real. That state, something odd happened with this book. I took several versions of HaG from the library at one time, and I actually grabbed two versions of this book because the printing was so different I literally did not r ...more
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Traditional Tales 1 3 Mar 11, 2014 08:19AM  
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