Hansel and Gretel by Mike Klaassen
A famine decimates a magical realm, and the family of ten-year-old Hansel and his little sister face starvation. Their parents decide that the best hope for all of them against almost certain death is to abandon the children deep in the forest, but Hansel leads Gretel home by following a trail of pebbles that glow in the moonlight. Still desperate, their parents prevent Hansel from finding more pebbles, and then they abandon the children even deeper into the forest, where they become thoroughly lost. Hansel and Gretel follow a white bird to a shack in the woods and fall captive to Petra, an evil witch, who fattens Hansel for slaughter. Hansel tricks Petra into thinking he isn’t fattening, then pushes her into the oven—only to discover that they may not yet be out of danger.
“Mike Klaassen is the author of the series “Klaassen’s Classic Folktales,” which so far includes two of the Brothers Grimm tales retold a novellas: “The Frog Prince” and “Hansel and Gretel.” Mike has also written “Backlash: A War of 1812 Novel,” and two young-adult novels: “Cracks” and “The Brute.” He has published two nonfiction books: “Fiction-Writing Modes: Eleven Essential Tools for Bringing Your Story to Life” and “Scenes and Sequels: How to Write Page-Turning Fiction.” Mike publishes “For Fiction Writers,” a free, monthly, online newsletter about the craft of writing fiction.
We all know the story of Hansel and Gretel. A famine causes two kids to but left in the woods but Hansel is smart and finds a way to get home. They are then taken further into the woods and left. The kids find a white bird then follow it to a house made of sweets. Inside is a witch that plans on fattening up the kids to eat. They trick her, cook her, and make their escape.
Mike Klaassen has re-written the story and updates it to give it a more modern feel. In his novella, the father reluctantly talks about leaving the kids in the woods. There is also a richer description to the story. It smooths the flow of the story compared to original. There is also a change as Hansel is the one that pushes the witch into the stove as opposed to Gretel.
Over all I like how Klaassen has re-written the story. It definitely adds to the well know tale. But what I liked the best was the original story was included at the end of the novella so you could compare the re-worked version.
If you like fairytales that stay true to their original version, you will love this novella. I see that Klaassen has re-written The Frog Prince and I’m very curious to see how that compares. I will definitely be adding Mike Klaassen to my future reading lists.
I received Hansel and Gretel from Book Unleashed for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.