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Hansel and Gretel

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  215 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Caldecott Honor winner Rachel Isadora gives readers a stunning new interpretation of this classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale, setting the infamous witch's cottage deep in a lush African forest. Hansel and Gretel's plight feels all the more threatening as they're plunged into the thick, dark jungle of Isadora's rich collages. ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 2nd 2009 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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 ·  215 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Jan 02, 2018 added it
Personal response (3-5 sentences)
I (dis)liked because...

I liked this book because I can imagine during reading this book, so it was fun. And even this story was not real, but I can remember long. This book wrote story clearly.

plot summary (5-7 sentences)
This book was about...

There are few main characters, Hansel and Gretel are brother and sister, they live with their father and bad stepmother. Their bad stepmother tried to throw kids in the forest. But Hansel and Gretel heard that and they pick
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: kid-lit
This story is very similar to the original tale but his has some tweaks to the story. The characters in the story are African and the pictures are so amazing. Each picture is a collage and its full of detail and bright colors. In this story the witch looked super creepy, and her house was made of bread, with a cake ruff, and sugar windows. In this story after the defeating the witch, Hansel and Gretel filled their pockets with precious stones and pearls instead of gems and gold. I enjoyed the bo ...more
Bethany Pollock
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
A traditional tale with a cultural twist! ❤
Do I think this fairy tale is ethical? Hmm, not sure. The kids are resourceful, at least, so maybe from a child's point of view, although what it says about stepmothers isn't great. But I am so impressed that it is told with African American characters this time. Seriously, it just proves that there is no reason that every single one of my children's fairy tale books should have all white casts! Think outside the oppressive box, people! ...more
Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Though set in Africa, this is a traditional telling of the familiar tale.

The illustrations are gorgeous and really make the book...BUT...the cynic inside me was saying - "The forest is jam-packed with animals, AND they own a pet cat. Why are they starving?"

Mar 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Isadora's collage illustrations are breathtaking! The compositions as well as each detail, color choice and shapes tell a much more powerful story than the words. I could't take my eyes off! ...more
Morgan Efland
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: elm-335
This book is about a common folktale and many people have heard before. Hansel and Gretel are left in the woods by their father and stepmother and have to find their way home. Since they are very smart kids they find their way back home and lived happily together with their father.

Hansel and Gretel was mainly a WOW book for me because of the neat illustrations. I really liked how the illustrations were so colorful and they followed the story. This would be a great book for students because I am
Ingrid Sawubona
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rachel Isadora gives a cultural twist to a classic Grimm fairy tale, and sets her version of “Hansel and Gretel” somewhere deep in a forest in Africa.

While the story stays true to the original version for the most part, witch-and-all, it is the illustrations that make this book so memorable. Each collage tells a story that is as colorful and vibrant as the people of Africa itself.

So if you’re looking for a picture book brimming with diversity; fill your pockets with some white pebbles, take a pi
Jeniece Goellner
If you want to diversify your children's picture book reading, but also want to include classic fairytales and folklore, look no farther than Rachel Isadora. I've read a few of her picture books and plan to go through her whole catalogue. She takes your Euro-centric fables, and puts them in new settings, along children of all backgrounds a chance to see themselves in these classic tales with moral lessons. This story, a Hansel in Gretel tale, is set in the and African forest. The illustrations a ...more
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Rachel Isadora takes on the task of retelling a Brothers Grimm classic fairy tale in her version of Hansel and Gretel. While the story stays true to what most readers will remember from their childhood, the illustrations are what make this book a standout. Using oil paints, printed paper, and palette paper Isadora creates a vivid African backdrop for the story. The use of printed paper creates the illusion of texture that makes you want to reach out and touch the page.

Isadora, R. (2009). Hansel
Alexsa Scofield
Feb 14, 2020 rated it liked it
One observation I made was that this story is very similar to the original story Hansel and Gretel.
One connection I made with this story was that I enjoyed it as much as the original. It was one of my favorite books growing up.
One question I have is for the author. I would want to know why she chose to re-create the book.
One surprise I had was how well the graphics and images were in the book.
My opinion on this book is that I would read it to my students.
Tessa Duncan
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting retelling of the classic Hansel and Gretel story. The children were set out to the forest by their evil stepmother, since their family had started running out of food. Along the way, the children come across the evil witch in the candy house. The siblings use teamwork in order to out smart the witch. I also loved the paper illustrations in the book, and how it is set in Africa.
Feb 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
I like that the story was transplanted into Africa, but very little from the original tale changed. This could be viewed as a positive or negative, depending on the audience. Since I was not a huge fan of the traditional version, this one didn't really light my fire either. Why does the step-mom always have to be the evil one? Grrr... ...more
This might be my favorite retelling.

All of the colors pop out at you on each page! The kids in this retelling are so darn cute & quite fashionable in my opinion. I did laugh at the witch though, she literally looked like a green goblin than anything else.

The art style does look familiar though, I might have read a book by this author as a kid. But I can't recall right now...

(Date & Time Read: 10th August 2019; 9:29am to 9:36am)
Julee Wilson
"Hansel and Gretel" is the retelling of the classic Hansel and Gretel but in a jungle in Africa. It was the classic Hansel and Gretel story, with a slight shift in the location. This could be an asset to any classroom library as it brings more diversity to a European folktale. ...more
Karla Winick-Ford
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love this version
Highly recommended
Jun 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Gorgeous brightly colored illustrations transport readers to an African jungle for a retelling of this fairy tale. Roots of the story remain true.
Jun 05, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5- Same traditional Hensel and Gretel story set in the African jungle. Neat illustrations.
Rebecca Plaza
Setting and art remarkable! Good for fairytale retelling comparisons.
Bryant Schumacher
Apr 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: etec-545-class-3
“Don’t worry.” Hansel and Gretel’s family are quite poor. One night, they overheard their stepmother telling their father that they were running out of food. To fix this situation, their stepmother said that they might need to get rid of their children altogether. Unwilling at first, their father was given no choice but to agree to her demands. Hansel and Gretel were ordered into the woods to collect supplies, and little by little, their stepmother’s demands became increasingly difficult. Soon e ...more
Lisa Engebretson
Nov 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: K-4
Rachel Isadora's version of Hansel and Gretel provides a twist using the lush, African forest setting to re-tell this timeless classic. She uses the illustrative style of the cut-paper artwork of Matisse to vividly color the stories scenes bringing a collage of images to the reader's eye. The story tells of Hansel and Gretel's plight of being left in the forest by their step-mother and father, taken in by the witch to enslave Hansel and fatten him up for her dinner, and their grand escape to ret ...more
Tarah Denardo
Dec 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: multicultural
Hansel and Gretel, by Rachel Isadora

This is your traditional retelling of Hansel and Gretel. Two kids abandoned in the forest by their own parents, only to stumble into the house of an evil witch. However, it is set in an African forest with illustrations portraying African culture.

The storyline of this book is already well-known, however this particular version strikes my interest due to its multicultural approach. Many fairy tales have not been created with much diversity, so
Bianca Greco
Apr 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this version of Hansel and Gretel. This retelling of Hansel and Gretel has an African setting and is based in an African Forrest. The illustrations are vibrant and engaging! The book is FULL of color!!!! Rachel Isadora has been known for her great work in retelling famous folktales. She has has been praised for wonderful retellings and illustrations in countless reviews. I think this would be a book for students in grades Kindergarden through Second and can be used to teach a nu ...more
Christine Mccurley
Sep 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: libs-642
Isadora, R. (2009). Hansel and Gretel. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
Picture Book Soak
Public Library
When you are sent into the woods, would you be able to find your way out? Read this story to find out what happens to two children who are hungry and lost in the jungle! This is a new spin on an old tale. The illustrations in this picture book remind me of Eric Carle’s fascinating creations. The colors and illustrations make it worth picking up this classic tale! When discussing fables and classic
Apr 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
If you want to read classic fairy tales to your kids that depict heroes and heroines that aren't 100% Caucasian, Rachel Isadora delivers!

Her art is fabulous, vibrant and supplies sometimes hard-to-find books to parents who want a little more diversity in children's literature.

Her storylines are not African adaptations, for the most part they follow Hans Christian or the Bros. Grimm just like other fairytale adaptations. It's merely her awesome illustrations that give the stories a different flav
Ricky Medina
Mar 04, 2012 rated it liked it
This book was a great multi-cultural version of Hansel and Gretel! The illustrations were bold and filled all of the pages. It is nice to see a version of a fairy tale that can be relatable to other genres and cultures. As I was reading Hansel and Gretel, I was able to get a great sense of the african culture through the illustrations that were along with the text. This version of the traditional tale is very similar storyline of the original Hansel and Gretel. It has both dark characters and he ...more
Sarah Huff
This version of Hansel and Gretel was very interesting. The illustrations were what caught my attention the most in this book. The illustrations are based on African views and culture. There are many bright colors and the pictures almost look like brush strokes that have been cut out and glued to each other. The plot of the story is similar and the words of the story fit perfectly in with the pictures and descriptions. The pictures, words, font all compliment each other and make for a great book ...more
I was excited to see the multi-cultural version of Hansel and Gretel. Some discussion was provoked when Son #1 said, "aren't hansel and gretl supposed to be white?"

However, the rejoicing in the death of the stepmother was disturbing. It kind of left the boys with a stumped look on their face at the end. It seemed OK (?) to kill the witch (self-defense) but not the stepmom (animosity/dislike).

Then again, a lot of the Brothers Grimm stories are disturbing in their original form...
Jul 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Cut-paper illustrations of the lush African jungle bring the tale of Hansel and Gretel to a new and gorgeous telling. Although the tale is the same, the pages are filled with creatures of the jungle, and the scariest witch (and her house) I’ve seen in a while. It would be great to use this in a study of different approaches authors and illustrators us in their special telling of these old stories.
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Isadora sets the story in a non-specific African country here, and the illustrations, handpainted cutouts, are vibrant and striking. The issue of famine takes on a different meaning here for obvious reasons. A variety of animals and insects are used in the backgrounds as well, and there is a lot to look at. This is a stepmother, not a mother here, and she does indeed die at the end (hooray, I guess), but on the whole the story has a different flavor here. On the whole, I quite liked it.
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Rachel Isadora is an award-winning children's author and illustrator. She has written children's books on multiple topics including ballet, life in America and Africa, and has illustrated several Brother Grimm tales in an African setting. She is most well-known for her Caldecott Honor Award book "Ben's Trumpet". She was a ballet dancer before she became an illustrator and children's writer. ...more

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