Another haunting, interesting fairy tale adaptation from the mind of Neil Gaiman.
The story is already one you know, two young children live with their parents in the woods, their parents are struggling to afford food and so have no choice but to send their children to fend for themselves. They encounter a house made of gingerbread and the old lady who lives there offers to take them in, but she isn’t the sweet woman they think she is, but instead an evil witch who wants to eat them.
This is going to be a fairly short review as I’m not really sure what to say about it, a difficult one to review! It’s a really enjoyable book, however I can’t help but feel a little disappointed. I read both Hansel and Gretel and The Sleeper and the Spindle in one sitting, (to see my review of that click here!) and The Sleeper and the Spindle to me seemed so much more fascinating. Neil Gaiman’s trademark spin that he puts on things does not seem to be in this story, comparing with his Sleeping Beauty adaptation, Hansel and Gretel sticks mainly to the original story. Despite this it’s still an enjoyable read, and if you plan on buying The Sleeper and the Spindle, then I recommend you get both because they’re a lovely set.
One thing I did rather appreciate about this version of the story was the illustrations. Dark and shadowy, Mattotti does a great job adding another layer to the story and giving it a real eerie fairy tale feel. They may not be to everyone’s taste, but I thought they were a very interesting addition to the novel.
Like The Sleeper and the Spindle, the book is packaged beautifully and is a fun, interesting read. I also found a particularly interesting little addition in the publishers timeline of Hansel and Gretel at the end of book, fascinating if you’re curious about where the story came from and how it’s changed from generation to generation.
It’s dark, fun and interesting, but if you’re no stranger to the story then don’t expect anything too different to what you’ve heard before, but overall a lovely, beautifully illustrated little book.