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BOOK REVIEW: Hansel & Gretel by Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti

| 21 November 2014 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Hansel & Gretel by Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti

November 2014, $19.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell



The enduring story of the children, the breadcrumb trail and the gingerbread house is brought to life by master storyteller, Neil Gaiman. Who better to retell the Brothers Grimm’s greatest, and perhaps darkest, fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel? Coupled with breathtakingly haunting illustrations from Lorenzo Mattotti, you will be enticed into the world and into the woods . . . so beware.


There was nothing earth shattering about this telling, nothing very different from the Grimm version, 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.

I collect fairytales by different writers, and have three different versions of Grimm’s tales alone. I know the story of Hansel and Gretel well enough, and was expecting there to be a significant change; that’s part of the fun of retellings!
This would be a great book for someone who doesn’t know Hansel and Gretel so thoroughly, or to read with a child. I honestly didn’t feel like this retelling was very dark at all, with the exception of the mentions of cannibalism.

Once again, I feel like this was a good, fun read. Interesting enough to keep the reader going, but altogether too short to really give me a feel for Gaiman’s style. I’m sure they’d be nice additions to the collection of anyone who’s already a fan (and out in time for Christmas!), but not a fantastic introduction to his work.



Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

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