Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Lorenzo Mattotti
You’re probably all familiar with this dark tale, recorded long ago by the Brothers Grimm. This is a story of horrifying choices, but also one of true strength, courage, and sibling bonds. This is the story of Hansel and Gretel.
So . . . I might have mentioned this before, but Hansel & Gretel, well, not my favorite fairy tale. It’s too dark and depressing. But when Neil Gaiman sets out to re-tell a story, I have to check it out, right? And I must say that he did a good job with this story, preserving the darkness and ethical dilemmas of it while bringing out the individuality of the characters. He’s true to the classic versions–if you weren’t paying attention, you might not tell any differences at all–but he tells it in his own words, and we know what a magician Gaiman is with words. I’ve seen this filed several times among the graphic novels; it isn’t one. It’s an illustrated short story, suitable for adults and probably for kids in elementary and up. The big warning I’d have for younger kids (besides the fact that the story is kind of terrifying, seriously) is that Mattotti’s illustrations, while excellent, are very dark and ominous and slightly surreal. Really, you could get nightmares. I guess I’d say that, while Hansel & Gretel certainly isn’t my favorite Gaiman book, he did a good job with the story and it’s a better version than any other I’ve read to date.