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Hansel and Gretel

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"This all happened a long time ago, in your grandmother's time, or in her grandfather's. A long time ago. Back then, we all lived on the edge of the great forest."

Neil Gaiman and Lorenzo Mattotti both remember the horror and fascination with which they read the Grimm Brothers' "Hansel and Gretel." The writer and the artist now join forces for a brilliant reimagining of one of humanity's most enduring tales.

This best-selling author and fine artist have created a stunning book that's at once as familiar as a dream and as evocative as a nightmare. Mattotti's sweeping ink illustrations capture the terror and longing found in the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale. Gaiman crafts an original text filled with his signature wit and pathos that is sure to become a favorite of readers everywhere, young and old.

Be brave, be bold, and keep your wits about you – Gaiman and Mattotti are welcoming you into the forest.

56 pages, Hardcover

First published October 1, 2014

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Neil Gaiman

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 992 reviews
Profile Image for Marquise.
1,692 reviews301 followers
March 3, 2023
This being Neil Gaiman, I was fully expecting shocking twists and gritty but unique twists to the Grimms' tale of Hänsel and Gretel, and instead I got confirmation that Gaiman doesn't know how meat is transported and how German names work.

Amongst other things.

I downright hated this retelling, and not just because it's boringly the same as the original fairy tale. Just wordier and with little changes that don't make much sense. For example, why is the stepmother changed to the mother? And why is she punished but not the father who actually carried out the deed twice? Why does the witch drug the kids? None of that is in the fairy tale.

If it was up to me, I'd have worked more on the war and famine explanation for why Hänsel & Gretel's parents decided to abandon them. The fairy tale already implies there was famine in the land, so it's not like this is some oh very new and exciting change Gaiman introduced, but it was where his narration skills should've shone. Like, show more of what the mother is willing to do to get food before making the awful decision she presses her husband to agree to, because she practically just goes straight to suggest abandoning the kids to fend off for themselves or die of hunger (she deludes herself that they'd not die in the woods, as if wild beasts aren't a threat). This was really a disappointing wasted opportunity. Instead, Gaiman went for adding inane things like that the woodcutter transported meat "black with flies and yellow with wasps." He really doesn't know how the peasantry handled their food, does he? And repeats pseudo-Medieval stereotypes like the "grease running down their chins" trope.

No wonder Gaiman is close friends with George R. R. Martin and so defensive of his pal. Both write people who eat like baby pigs and have no chins.

Now, for the art. I'm all for black & white silhouette artwork, but this is no Pienkowski or Gibb. The art couldn't be uglier and unsubtler if it tried. And sometimes outright contradicts the text, like when Hänsel is said to be the younger sibling but is drawn bigger than Gretel (at an age when boys don't overtake girls in growth yet), or when the old woman is said to be kindly and polite but is drawn to be comically witchy. And it's all so focused on the woods, woods, and more woods like that's all the artist cares about.

Not a retelling worth your while.
Profile Image for Mischenko.
1,014 reviews97 followers
September 26, 2019
To see this full review and to learn more about Hansel & Gretel please visit www.readrantrockandroll.com

This version of Hansel & Gretel by Neil Gaiman has to be one of my favorites. I loved that it stays close to the original Grimm version and preserves the chilling details...

"Today, when the oven is hot enough, we will roast your brother," said the old woman. "But do not be sad. I will give you his bones to chew, little one."

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What I cherish most about this edition are the illustrations. There's no color in any of the pictures by Lorenzo Mattotti as they're simply black and white. What's interesting is how certain details in the written story are left out, but then you find them sketched in the pictures. For example, the mother is originally with the father as they lead the children into the dark forest and also with the original tale there's a duck that helps them reach safety by swimming them across the river. There's no mention of it, but you will find it in the illustrations.

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In the back of the book there are a few pages that cover the history of the tale and where it originated. It also covers some other fairy tales that are similar to "Hansel & Gretel" including "Hop-o'-My-Thumb" and "Nennillo and Nennella".

Overall, I really liked this edition. I felt that it might be sort of drab when I saw that it was all in black and white, but there's a lot more to see in the illustrations if you just take the time to pay attention.

Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews154k followers
December 10, 2020
Honestly, not a huge fan of this one

Gaiman did a splendid job when he retold Sleeping Beauty (The Sleeper and the Spindle) so I was excited at the idea of another classic being twisted by his mind.

Unfortunately, this retelling was essentially...just that. A retelling.

And not a particularly interesting or unique one. There wasn't some special twist or character development. It's literally just Hansel and Gretel. The kids get "lost" in the woods, stumble upon a witch, nearly get eaten and manage to get their revenge.

I suppose, if I was really fishing, the art could be considered the 'twist' to the book. It's all in black and white with an edgy-artsy spin to it (and edgy in the sense that I had to really squint at some of these pages to see what was happening, NOT edgy as in mind-blowingly unique).

I wasn't a huge fan of the art, and when you aren't a fan of the art for an illustrated novel, the whole thing just falls flat.

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for Kenny.
490 reviews848 followers
January 14, 2019
“Today, when the oven is hot enough, we will roast your brother,” she announces to Gretel. “But do not be sad. I will give you his bones to chew, little one.”
Neil Gaiman, Hansel and Gretel


Very charming and the illustrations are so inky and scary.

Gaiman makes the story’s horrors feel very real and very human, and Mattotti’s artwork is genuinely chilling.

Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
October 29, 2022
I read this because Neil Gaiman adapted the tale the Grimm Brothers got from 12-year-old Dortchen when they were collecting German folk tales. Gaiman I already know is equally successful with children and adult stories, and he works pretty well in the picture book/graphic novel framework, too, of course! This particular version was inspired by the illustrations Lorenzo Mattotti did as part of an exhibit TOON Books' Francoise Mouly curated to celebrate the Metropolitan Opera's 2007 staging of the story. I was interested in it because Gaiman has spoken about the ways the Grimm Tales have gotten cleaned up over the years, lightened so as not to frighten the wee babes. And Gaiman does not like this turn to remove the grimness from Grimm. He is, after all, the author of The Graveyard Book, Coraline and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. He is a champion of horror for the young in all its delicious, jaw-dropping gory details.

So Gaiman restores the cannibalistic tale set in the time of famine, Hansel and Gretel abandoned by their parents to die, lured by a wicked witch into a gingerbread house, fattened for the kill, and so on. Gaiman is a terrific writer and in his language and with his sensibilities it is even more terrific, with his characteristic clever wit and sharp, breath-taking turns of phrase. The tale comes off both fresh and contemporary in its translation and also true to its origins. It's not a comics revisionist tale with a new origin for some ideological purposes, so there's nothing really all that new here in terms of the story. But it is pretty darned delightful to read, worth viewing for his language alone.

Gaiman's alternating spreads in this deluxe hardback TOON Graphics edition are framed sweetly by little innocent floral arrangements, which contrast sharply with Mattotti's very (sometimes overly, for me) dark illustrations on his one facing pages. They can't be seen as illustrations of his text because he didn't work with Gaiman in this process. Gaiman followed his version of the tale inspired by the illustrations. And they are very dark, with none of the lightness of Gaiman's humor in them. I don't love them, though there are memorable little glimpses of the kids in the mass of darkness. I get that point, that they are vulnerable and small in a world that would eat them instead of protect them. I bet they looked great on display of the Met lobby, but on this page they are just dark and deliberately sketchy and not quite as interesting in this format. But overall Gaiman makes re-reading the tale worth it.
Profile Image for Rae.
Author 1 book18 followers
November 2, 2014
As much as I like the tale, the art, and the prose itself, I can't help but be disappointed, especially after reading The Sleeper and the Spindle not so long ago. Usually when Neil Gaiman tackles a well known story, he carefully crafts a new version that makes it fresh and exciting again. He adds something new to make it worth your time and make you feel like you're experiencing it for the first time. Sadly, that can't be said about Hansel and Gretel.

Don't get me wrong, if you have (for whatever reason) never read a version of this fairy tale, this is the version you should go for. It's dark, it's interesting, it's beautiful – the words as well as the haunting art that's a careful study of darkness and light.

But if you already know the tale, there is nothing new about this. I wouldn't even really call it a retelling as there is just too little about the same story that can be found in hundrets of books already published years ago. I missed the Gaiman-touch a lot. The magic he usually brings to stories. You could find bits and pieces, small hints of something interesting in this book (like the mention of a war devasting the country or the old woman promising Gretel to teach her magic) but it never really led anywhere. There were no unforseen twists, no surprises at all. It didn't feel like it was written by Neil Gaiman at all, apart from the beauty of the words themselves.

Maybe I wouldn't be so disappointed if I hadn't read The Sleeper and the Spindle a few weeks ago, that was everything a retelling should be. It brought something new to a already well known story while still being beautifully told and illustrated. Maybe it's unfair to compare the two but as someone who grew up on Grimm's fairy tales, I expected more than the same story with slightly different words, especially considering who wrote them this time.

Hansel and Gretel is worth your time and it's a beautiful book. I'd recommend it in a heartbeat but only with the slight warning that it's just the story you already know without anything new to it.
Profile Image for Betsy.
Author 8 books2,713 followers
December 29, 2014
When a successful writer of books for adults decides to traipse headlong into the world of children’s literature, the results are too often disastrous. From Donald Barthelme’s self-indulgent Slightly Irregular Fire Engine to the more recent, if disastrous in an entirely different way, Rush Revere series by Rush Limbaugh, adult authors have difficulty respecting the unique perspective of a child reader. Either they ignore the intended audience entirely and appeal to the parents with the pocket change or they dumb everything down and reduce the storytelling to insulting pabulum. This is not to say that all adult authors are unsuccessful. Sylvia Plath penned the remarkable The Bed Book while Ted Hughes brought us The Iron Giant. Louise Erdrich will forever have my gratitude for her Birchbark House series and while I wouldn’t call Michael Chabon’s Summerland a roaring success, it at least had some good ideas. Then we come to Neil Gaiman. Mr. Gaiman is one of those rare adult authors to not only find monetary success in the field of children’s books but literary success as well. His The Graveyard Book won the prestigious Newbery Award, given once a year to the most distinguished written book of children’s literature in America. Like Donald Hall with his Ox-Cart Man, Gaiman has successfully straddled two different literary forms. Unlike Hall, he’s done so repeatedly. His latest effort, Hansel and Gretel takes its inspiration from art celebrating an opera. It is, in an odd way, one of the purest retellings of the text I’ve had the pleasure to read. A story that begs to be spoken aloud, even as it sucks you into its unnerving darkness.

In the beginning there was a woodcarver and his pretty wife and their two children. Times were good and once in a while the family, though never rich, would get a bite of meat. Then the wars came and the famine. Food became so scarce that the wife persuaded her husband to abandon their children in the woods. The first time he tried to do so he failed. The second time he succeeded. And when Hansel and Gretel, the children in question, spotted that gingerbread cottage with its barley sugar windows and hard candy decorations the rest, as they say, was history.

It’s a funny kind of children’s book. The bulk of it is text-based, with time taken for Mattotti’s black and white two-paged spreads between the action. For people expecting a standard picture book this can prove to be a bit unnerving. Yet the truth is that the book begs to be read aloud. I can see teachers reading it to their classes and parents reading it to their older children. The art is lovely but it’s practically superfluous in the face of Gaiman’s turn of phrase. Consider sentences like “They slept as deeply and as soundly as if their food had been drugged. And it had.” There’s something deeply satisfying about that “And it had”. It is far more chilling in its matter-of-factness than if Gaiman had ended cold with “It had”. The “And” gives it a falsely comforting lilt that chills precisely because it sounds misleadingly comforting. It pairs very well with the first sentence in the next section: “The old woman was stronger than she looked - a sinewy, gristly strength...” He then peppers the books with little tiny nightmares that might not mean much on a first reading but are imbued with their own small horrors if you pluck them out and look at them alone. The witch’s offers to Gretel to make her one of her own and teach her how to ensnare travelers. Hansel’s refusal to let go of the bone that saved his life, even after the witch has died. And the final sentence of the book has a truly terrible tone to it, though on the surface it appears to be nothing but sunshine and light:

“In the years that followed, Hansel and Gretel each married well, and the people who went to their weddings ate so much fine food that their belts burst and the fat from the meat ran down their chins, while the pale moon looked down kindly on them all.”

Some versions of the story turn the mother into a stepmother, for what kind of parent would sacrifice her own children for the sake of her own skin? Here Gaiman is upfront about the mother. She was pretty once but became bitter and sharp-tongued in time. It’s her plying words that convince the woodcutter to go along with the abandonment plan. As the book later explains, subsequent version of this tale turned her into a stepmother, but here we've the original parent with her original sin. Gaiman also solves some problems in the plot that had always bothered me about the story. For example, why does Hansel drop white stones that are easy to follow the first time he and Gretel are abandoned in the woods but breadcrumbs the second? The answer is in the planning. Hansel has foreknowledge of his mother’s wicked scheme the first time around and has time to find the stones. The second time the trip into the woods catches him unawares and so the only thing he has on hand to use for a path are the breadcrumbs of the food he’s given for lunch.

Originally the illustrations in this book were created by Lorenzo Mattotti for the Metropolitan Opera’s staging of the opera of the same name. These pieces of art (which the publication page says are in “a rich black ink, on a smooth woodfree paper from Japan”) proved to be the inspiration for Gaiman’s take. This is no surprise. Mattotti knows all too well how to conjure up the impression of light or night with the merest swoops of his paintbrush. His children are no better than silhouettes. Does it even matter if they have any features? Here the trees are the true works of art. There’s something hiding in the gloom here and from the vantage taken, the thing lurking in the woods, spying upon the kids, is ourselves. We are the eyes making these two children so very nervous. We espy their mother pacing in front of their home just before the famine starts. We peer through the trees at the kids crossing past a small gap in the trunks. On a first glance the shadows are universal but then you notice when Mattotti chooses to imbue a character with features. The children are left abandoned in the woods and all you can see of the woodcutter is an axe and an eye. I think it the only eyeball in the entire book. It’s grotesque.

Of course, for a children’s librarian the best part might well be the backmatter. Recently I read a version of "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" that suggested that the Grimm tale was a metaphor for a plague that had wiped out all of Hamelin’s children, save a few. A similar theory surrounds “Hansel and Gretel”, suggesting that the story’s origins lie in the Great Famine of 1315. Further information is given about the tale, ending at last with the current iteration and (oh joy!) a short Bibliography. You might not be as ready to nerd out over this classic fairy tale, but for those of you with a yen, boy are you in luck!

What is the role of a fairy tale these days? With our theaters and books filled to brimming with reimagined tellings, one wonders what fairy tales mean to most people. Are they cultural touchstones that allow us to speak a universal language? Do they still reflect our deepest set fears and worries? Or are they simply good yarns worth discovering? However you chose to view them, the story of “Hansel and Gretel” deserves to be plucked up, shaken out like an old coat, and presented for the 21st century young once in a while. Neil Gaiman’s a busy man. He has a lot to do. He could have phoned this one in. Instead, he took the time and energy to make give the story its due. It’s not about what we fear happening to us. It’s about what we fear doing to ourselves by doing terrible things to others. The fat from the meat is running down our chins. Best to be prepared when something comes along to wipe it up.

For ages 7 and up.
Profile Image for Sam Quixote.
4,453 reviews12.8k followers
April 26, 2015
We all know the story of Hansel and Gretel, right? Brother and sister get dumped in the woods, trail of breadcrumbs (boy, who’da thunk that plan wouldn’t work!), gingerbread house in the woods, wicked witch, oven, happily ever after (with no mention of the whole abandoning your children in the woods thing). So why did we need Neil Gaiman to retell the exact same story that the Brothers Grimm told 200 years ago? We didn’t. In fact the only difference I could spot was that he omitted any mention of a witch - here she’s just your run-of-the-mill crazy old woman who lives in a house made of sweets and eats children.

Gaiman retelling this story, practically beat for beat, is extremely lazy. It’s also 22 pages long, taking away the illustrations, so it’s a short story in book format. I guess it’s for kids but I don’t know if they’d like Lorenzo Mattotti’s unappealing and grim(m) black black BLACK art. Everything is BLACK, hey let’s cover the pages in BLACK so it’s damn near impossible to distinguish what’s on the page!

Gaiman normally writes his stories in tandem with the artist but it’s very clear he and Mattotti weren’t in sync on this one. A good example is in other versions of this story a duck helps the siblings cross the river at the end, which appears in one of Mattotti’s last drawings, but isn’t mentioned in Gaiman’s retelling at all.

Instead the art came first, then Gaiman wrote his piece inspired by the drawings and then the publisher decided to slap them together. Gaiman’s story is a very deliberate, mundane retelling while Mattotti’s art heavily emphasises the horror of the tale through his overbearing smudgy love of BLACK; the tones are very different and don’t mesh.

We really didn’t need Neil Gaiman to retell a story that’s already very well-known. Even with Lorenzo Mattotti’s art, their Hansel & Gretel is entirely pointless and seems only to exist to profit off of Gaiman’s extensive fanbase, many of whom will buy anything with his name on.
Profile Image for Marianna Neal.
465 reviews2,150 followers
January 22, 2020
10 out of 10

A perfect retelling from Neil Gaiman! I can't imagine anyone whose writing style fits the Grimm Brothers' fairytales better than his, to be honest. Plus, the book has absolutely STUNNING illustrations, done by Lorenzo Mattotti—very dark and ominous. I will warn you though: this isn't an adaptation or a reimagining, Gaiman sticks very closely to the original, so don't expect any kind of plot twists in there. Which was completely fine by me—this is a wonderful addition to my bookshelves, and specifically to my Neil Gaiman collection!
Profile Image for Kristen.
252 reviews4 followers
November 4, 2014
Oh, this:

"They slept as deeply and soundly as if their food had been drugged. And it had."
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,723 reviews6,663 followers
March 17, 2017
I have to admit, it has been a long while since I have read the story of Hansel and Gretel. I recently picked up a copy of Neil Gaiman and Lorenzo Mattotti's interpretation of this fairytale based on a goodreads friend's recommendation...and I loved it! It's simple and yet it's so haunting. Mr. Gaiman's signature writing style shines through this brief novel, while Mr. Mattotti's illustrations are both mesmerizing and nightmarish. This combination portrays Hansel and Gretel for the truly dark fairytale that it is. If you are a fan of the Brothers Grimm tale, make sure to check out this adaptation!




I've always wondered why most fairytales are so dark in nature, but after viewing an interview with Neil Gaiman about Hansel and Gretel, I have a new perspective:
"I think if you are protected from dark things then you have no protection of, knowledge of, or understanding of dark things when they show up. I think it is really important to show dark things to kids — and, in the showing, to also show that dark things can be beaten, that you have power. Tell them you can fight back, tell them you can win. Because you can — but you have to know that.

And for me, the thing that is so big and so important about the darkness is [that] it’s like in an inoculation… You are giving somebody darkness in a form that is not overwhelming — it’s understandable, they can envelop it, they can take it into themselves, they can cope with it.

And, it’s okay, it’s safe to tell you that story — as long as you tell them that you can be smart, and you can be brave, and you can be tricky, and you can be plucky, and you can keep going."
Profile Image for Amy | littledevonnook.
199 reviews1,201 followers
October 28, 2015
I really hoped to love this book but I just wasn't blown away!

- This is Neil Gaiman's retelling of the Brothers Grimm's fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. The story consists of a family who are poverty stricken and in need of food; one day the Mother suggests to the Father that he leaves Hansel and Gretel (their children) deep in the woods so they are unable to find home again - hoping that they would not return and they would then have more food to stretch between them. The tale then jumps into witches and gingerbread houses...I'm assuming you all know the story (it's pretty famous :P)

- I think I was just expecting more from the retelling - obviously the main plot line of the story was going to be similar but I just didn't get the feeling I get when reading Gaiman's other novels. I think I would gave enjoyed it more if the story had just been darker or had something else to give it that extra spark - I did enjoy it but it wasn't amazing.

- The book only took about ten minutes to read as the writing is very large and every other page is a large illustration to go along with the story. The illustrations where wonderful - really dark and eerie, they did a brilliant job of portraying the story.

- I didn't love this book but I also didn't hate it, it was very average! I would recommend to lovers of Gaimen but would suggest borrowing from a library or seeing it in person first as I felt the price tag was rather high for what it is!

- 3 out of 5 stars - hopefully my next Gaiman book will be much more enjoyable!
Profile Image for Teresa.
Author 8 books769 followers
December 16, 2014
After a recent aborted attempt of an adult version of the same tale (The True Story of Hansel and Gretel), reading this cleansed my palate. This telling by Neil Gaiman breaks no new ground, but his prose is a delight to read.

A great bonus is the publisher's note at the back: an interesting history of the tale going back to 1806 and ending in 2007 to explain the origin of these illustrations. The note also cleared up the mystery of the puzzling penultimate illustration which had no correlation to Gaiman's text (a pet peeve of mine).

Mattotti's illustrations, cross-hatched to the extreme, are too dark (in look, not in theme) for my tastes, though I liked searching for the white areas within the overwhelming black.
Profile Image for Sophia.
1,985 reviews183 followers
July 28, 2020
In this retelling of Hansel and Gretel, the not-so lighthearted story is accompanied by dark and mysterious illustrations that make you want to delve deeper into the picture. I have read and watched a couple of different versions of this tale and this one, I feel is what the original would be like. It has a very real, old-fashioned tone to it but it's engaging and interesting. I wanted to savor the differences in this version as it was told in such a way that I hadn't seen before. It was so thrilling and exciting to read! I'm glad I did read this a little slower than normal as the ending was satisfying and well worth the wait. Overall, a very good retelling of a very old story.
Profile Image for Yoda.
569 reviews110 followers
March 29, 2017
I love everything by Neil Gaiman so I´m probably not the most objective person. I enjoyed this one a lot. Especially the illustration, even though they were kind of "grim" that´s exactly how I would imagine it.
Profile Image for Figgy.
678 reviews219 followers
November 21, 2014
Actual Rating 2.5

There was nothing earth shattering about this telling, nothing very different from the original, except that in this telling the woodcutter’s wife was the biological mother of the children.

The illustrations were eerie, ghostly, old-timey, and were my favourite part of this tale. It felt like this story was more about the pictures, and the simplistic writing served only to string said images together, but the images themselves didn’t tell enough of the story to stand completely alone.
Maybe it’s me, maybe I’m putting too much stock in the words of an illustrated story, but I like it when the writing and the images each build the other up.

The rest of this review can be found here!
Profile Image for Tanya.
479 reviews265 followers
December 17, 2022
"This all happened a long time ago, in your grandmother's time, or in her grandfather's. A long time ago. Back then, we all lived on the edge of the great forest."

I usually eat it up with a spoon whenever Neil Gaiman tackles a retelling of a well-known fairy-tale. Snow, Glass, Apples and The Sleeper and the Spindle, for instance, are lovingly crafted reimaginings with a twist that make stories you've heard hundreds of times feel fresh again, or even make you consider them in an entirely new (often darker) light.

Not this time; this is a mundane retelling of the original, unsanitized version of Hansel and Gretel, as collected by the brothers Grimm. Siblings are abandoned in the woods, trail of breadcrumbs, gingerbread house in a clearing, wicked witch burned in the oven, happy ending—we've all heard it before. Beat for beat, this is a straight retelling that no one needed, and it feels like nothing but a low-effort cash-grab. It breaks no new ground; it's fine, but lazy, and except for some sentence here and there, it could've been any other random name on the cover—there was nothing particularly Gaimanesque about the voice or style of the prose.

The smudgy, inky artwork is pretty unique and suitably grim(m) and ominous—you have to squint to make out what the illustrations are even depicting, which makes them nightmarish... but once you look at them closely, you realize that they don't go with the version of the story Gaiman is telling. There's a double page at the end that covers the history of the tale, and it's mentioned that Gaiman was inspired to write this when he saw Mattotti's already existing artwork. They feel slapped together, because even though they're not mentioned in the text, the drawings show the mother coming along for the abandonment, and a duck helping the children cross the river. It's a nice addition to the bookshelf of a child who's never heard this story before, but otherwise, you're not at all missing out by skipping this one, even as a Gaiman completist.
Profile Image for Steffi.
948 reviews195 followers
June 21, 2020
Einen gewissen Charme hat es, diese Geschichte mal in einer anderen Sprache zu lesen. Einige kleine Änderungen gibt es sicher, sofern ich mich recht erinnere. Dass es am Ende bei den Hochzeiten der beiden Entkommenen tolle Festmahle gibt - dem Hunger der Vergangenheit zum Trotz - das kenne ich von den Grimms nicht.

Der eigentliche Grund das Buch zu erwerben, war für mich, dass es tolle Illustrationen geben sollte. Diese haben mich aber sehr enttäuscht. Sie bestehen größtenteils aus schwarz-weißem Gewische, nur in einem kleinen Ausschnitt wird das Erzählte illustriert. Das ist mir für eine Quasi-Graphic Novel zu wenig. Noch dazu, weil Illustrationen und Text immer getrennte Doppelseiten einnehmen; man also nie beides zusammen auf sich wirken lassen kann. Selbst für ein illustriertes Buch wäre mir das zu wenig. Da lobe ich mir ja sogar den alten, biederen Ludwig Richter.
Profile Image for Christian McKay Heidicker.
Author 9 books216 followers
November 4, 2014
Remember many years ago when everyone said things like, "Wouldn't it be awesome if Tim Burton directed a version of ________"? And then Tim Burton went ahead and directed all of those movies (Sleepy Hollow, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and they were all TERRIBLE? Yeah. That was heartbreaking. I still wince a little when a favorite creator of mine decides to try his or her hand at adapting an old classic. Here? This? Neil Gaiman retelling Hansel & Gretel? NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT. It is simple and beautiful and terrifying and realistic and I would quote my five favorite moments right here if I didn't think you should probably just go out and buy it. 'Cause jeez. It's good.
Profile Image for B-zee.
539 reviews71 followers
March 2, 2017
Ceritanya setia dengan versi Grimms, hanya sedikit perubahan yang membuatnya sedikit lebih...realistis? Maksudku, tidak ada penyihir atau bebek yang bisa bicara. Di akhir buku ini diceritakan lahirnya kisah Hansel and Gretel ini di kumpulan Grimms', sampai pada revisi di edisi berikutnya. Ternyata Hansel and Gretel ini (kalau benar sejarahnya) justru sangat setia dengan versi awal milik Grimms.
Ilustrasinya keren; gelap, kompleks, sekaligus memukau.
Profile Image for Lauren.
812 reviews931 followers
April 9, 2017
This was a nice easy sunny day read, although I am somewhat confused at it being labelled as a "retelling" which it really isn't.

Gaiman hasn't put a fantastical spin on this classic Grimm's fairytale and basically recounts the original story.

That being said however, the artwork is pretty chilling and definitely atmospheric.

I'm awarding it 4 stars not because this is a new version of Hansel and Gretel but because I love the original fairytale so much.
Profile Image for Jesse A.
1,271 reviews84 followers
March 5, 2016
Ok. What exactly was the point? We all know the Hansel and Gretel story. The art didn't really add anything. 3 stars because I like the story.
Profile Image for Literary Ames.
828 reviews396 followers
August 20, 2015
Having liked The Sleeper and the Spindle , I assumed I'd enjoy another reworked fairy tale by him.

Be warned, Gaiman doesn't really rework Hansel and Gretel like he did with Sleeping Beauty, he just enlarges on it, adding minor changes along the way. Oddly I enjoyed this story more than any other by Gaiman, which probably tells you more about how much I like, or dislike, his work than anything else.

Hansel Gretel Neil Gaiman Lorenzo Mattotti

Lorenzo Mattotti's illustrations feel inappropriate for a children's book, in my opinion. They're 95% black brushstrokes with tiny bits of white. Since the cover of The Sleeper and the Spindle featured gold on the cover in addition to black and white, which were all present in the illustrations within, I assumed the green on Hansel & Gretel 's cover would feature in the illustrations here as well. I was wrong. These are just black and white. Perhaps the illustrator was aiming for gothic, but when I can't even tell what a couple of them are supposed to be representing, there's a problem.

However, there's a random illustration which doesn't match the narrative. Only after reading the last two pages, which detail the source of the Grimm tale and a few paragraphs describing the original work, did I realise what had happened. Apparently a duck helped the duo cross the river in the original version and this is depicted in one of the illustrations. But Gaiman doesn't include the duck in his retelling. Did Hansel & Gretel even go through an editing stage?

Grimms' Hansel and Gretel was published in 1812. Twelve year old Dorothea Wild, known as Dortchen, was the source of the tale. She later became Mrs Wilhelm Grimm in 1825.
A hundred years before the Brothers Grimm, French author and fairy-tale collector Charles Perrault recorded "Le Petit Poucet," or "Hop-o'-My-Thumb." Hop-o'-My-Thumb, the smallest and cleverest of seven brothers, is also born to woodcutters who put the children out due to famine. Like Hansel, he uses trails of pebbles then breadcrumbs to find his way. The brothers stumble upon the house of an ogre who vows to kill and eat them, but Hop-o'-My-Thumb tricks him into slitting his daughters' throats instead (by swapping their caps). By the end of the story, "Hop-o'-My-Thumb." ends up with the ogre's money.

An Italian tale, "Nennillo and Nennella" is also similar. Then there's Russia's Baba Yaga who promises no to eat the children if they can complete impossible tasks. Kindness to the animals sees them help the children in completing the tasks in order to escape. Baba Yaga may have been inspired by in part by Cupid and Psyche's story in The Golden Ass written almost 2,000 years ago.

Hansel Gretel Neil Gaiman Lorenzo Mattotti

I want to award Gaiman's retelling a high rating, but it's not Gaiman's story. He hasn't made it his own like he did by adding a feminist twist to Sleeping Beauty. Sure, it's been reworded, and feels smoother and more eloquent for it, but there isn't any one thing I can definitively point to that sets it apart from the original. For me, the sometimes inarticulate illustrations detracted from the reading experience, as I sat there trying to figure out what exactly I was looking at. I felt they were incongruous and would've been better placed in art book or a gallery wall where I could've appreciated them more.

Hansel Gretel Neil Gaiman Lorenzo Mattotti

To be honest, I think this is a bit of a rip-off at £11 in hardcover for 49 pages. The cynic in me thinks Gaiman's trading heavily on his name to make quick and easy money, especially since even before publication it was announced his version was to be turned into a live-action movie. I thought we'd already had a live-action adaptation in 2013's highly entertaining Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. It may be too soon for another.

Although I enjoyed the warmer and more personable take on the classic fairy tale, I'm very glad I borrowed Hansel & Gretel from the library.

Profile Image for Mia  Bakhthiar.
330 reviews7 followers
April 2, 2016
I picked this up thinking it would be a fairy retelling, just like The Sleeper and The Spindle, but found that it was the exact story, as I remember it being told, every single time. The illustrations were beautiful, though, and the narration and prose was just as impressive.
Profile Image for Mir.
4,847 reviews5,004 followers
August 7, 2016
Pretty standard version of the story, made a little wordier. Illustrations are literally dark (as in, all-black) and effective enough if lacking in subtlety.
Profile Image for Trish.
1,881 reviews3,384 followers
December 25, 2014
I am giving this book 5 stars for the story (which, of course, was slighty changed / more elaborate than the origianl fairy tale) and 4 for the art work (which is stunning but not as much as the one from The Sleeper and the Spindle).

For quite a while I have been wondering about certain reasons for fairy tale characters to act like they do and in this book we finally get the answer at least for two of them. Naturally, the story is filled with the dark humour Neil Gaiman is known for so that alone was a treat. And the art work is dark but full of details so one can really take some time to look at the pictures and enjoy them.
Profile Image for Sesana.
5,110 reviews348 followers
December 23, 2014
This isn't anything new, or exciting, or original. It's a fairly straightforward retelling of Hansel and Gretel, suitable for bedtime stories. It's told skillfully enough, at least. And it was interesting how Gaiman chose to revert to some of the original elements of the story, including that it was the children's biological mother, not their stepmother, that wanted to abandon them. The real attraction is Mattotti's art, which is as you can see on the cover. Dark, shadowy, rough. I really liked the way it fit into the stories. But then, I'm a sucker for a good silhouette.
Profile Image for Sarah Churchill.
470 reviews1,174 followers
August 26, 2017
Usually Gaiman can do no wrong in my eyes, but while the story was well written it didn't feel like it had his usual stamp on the adaptation. It was a pretty straight forward rewrite of the most commonly known version of the story, and having read some of his other short story adaptations (especially Snow White) I know he can do so much more with it. I also wasn't a fan of the illustrations at all.
Profile Image for Sophie.
Author 28 books406 followers
January 31, 2018
A neat little story, and I always love Neil Gaiman's voice, but this doesn't really add any sort of twist in the way that his other retellings do. The artwork is unique and interesting, but it's so dark it's very hard to make out a lot of the time. I would recommend borrowing this from the library if you're interested, but I'm not sure it's worth the £15 cover price for the hardback.
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