"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book." Cornelia Funke

"Everything puts me in mind of a story." Ben Franklin

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Acting Out Hansel and Gretel

Playtales: Hansel and Gretel by Moira Butterfield, 1998.
This book offers everything kids need to put on a play of Hansel and Gretel. It can be read aloud by one person, done as Reader's Theatre or acted out by multiple kids. The characters are: the Storyteller, Hansel, Gretel, the Woodcutter and the stepmother/Wicked Witch.
 The book briefly explains how to choose a part, read lines and follow stage directions. Suggestions for easy costumes and props made from cardboard, colored paper and items like trash bags and pipe cleaners are given.
The script is shown in cartoon balloons issuing from a small drawing of the appropriate character and each speech balloon is color coded by character to help kids easily follow along.
In this version of the story, the stepmother actually is the witch, and she has the woodcutter father and the birds of the forest under a spell so that she can control them. This conveniently takes the blame off the father for abandoning his children and, somewhat absurdly, from the birds for eating the dropped bread crumbs (as birds would certainly do.) Another change has Hansel dropping the white stones, but Gretel dropping the breadcrumb trail.
The play's action is illustrated with photos of multicultural kids in cute homemade costumes.

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