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Book Reviews

A German Tale Retold By Neil Gaiman


Hansel and Gretel

by Hansel and Gretel
by Neil Gaiman, Lorenzo Mattotti (Illustrator)

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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.― 

Neil Gaiman


Hansel and Gretel is a well-known fairy tale of German origin, recorded by the Brothers Grimm and published in 1812.
The story follows a young brother and sister who discover a house of candy and cake in the forest and a child-devouring witch.


Hardcover, Standard Edition, 56 pagesPublished October 28th 2014 by Toon Graphics (first published 1857)Original TitleHansel and GretelISBN1935179624 (ISBN13: 9781935179627)Edition LanguageEnglishCharactersGretelHansel

My Thoughts

On the one hand, Neil Gaiman’s adaptation of the classic German folk tale of Hansel and Gretel is good, because primarily the classic story is timeless. I don’t think Neil brought much to the table except a well-known name and an ability to get a project like a graphic reimagining off of the ground. The reason to read this story is the illustrations. The illustrations are done by famous Italien Lorenzo Mattotti. They completely remake what could have been a relatively tired old tale. Mattotti adds a starkness and depth to the story by employing a monotone palette and sharp lines. There is no cuteness in this story; it is a story about an old witch eating children, after all. Each panel has an almost dark and desperate quality to it.

They slept as deeply and soundly as if their food had been drugged. And it had.― 

Hansel and Gretel
by Neil Gaiman, Lorenzo Mattotti

The children are lost, starving, and abandoned. But then they are found again by a seemingly kind old witch. Only to be fattened and prepared for slaughter. It isn’t a sweet tale, and it needs illustrations that match the tone, Mattotti provides them in spades.

Well worth the read just for the pictures.

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Where to find it?


I checked this out from the library.

About the Author

Neil Richard MacKinnon Gaiman is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, nonfiction, audio theatre, and films. His works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book.

Where to Find Them


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