Hansel and Gretel

The Brothers Grimm Story Told as a Novella (Klaassen's Classic Folktales)

Fiction - General
56 Pages
Reviewed on 06/06/2016
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rachel McGrath for Readers' Favorite

Mike Klaassen’s retelling of Hansel and Gretel was a pleasure to read. He has brought the classic story back to life, modernising it slightly with the language so that it can be read, understood, and engaged with by children young and old. The story of Hansel and Gretel is timeless, and Klaassen has not altered it so that it deviates from the version originally told by the Brothers Grimm. I can see that this is the first in a series, and the addition of other stories will certainly make for a great volume collection eventually.

The story as we know it is of two young children, a brother and sister, who are led deep into the woods by their desperate parents, who fear that they will all starve and die if this drastic action isn’t taken. Klaassen takes you through the parents' emotions and rationale, the young Hansel and Gretel’s reaction to their parents' decision, their clever plan to find their way home, and then their discovery of the witch’s cottage filled with food and sweets deep in the woods, and her devious plan. The drama was good, and anyone who knows the story knows the ending. It would be perfect with some small illustrations throughout, but overall I enjoyed re-visiting a story from my younger years, and it’s amazing how much I had actually forgotten of the tale. Mike Klaassen’s version of Hansel and Gretel will be well received by parents and children alike, and I encourage him to continue rewriting these classics into a full series.