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

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

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hansel and Gretel by James Marshall

Hansel and Gretel by James Marshall, 1990.


  • Does not mention God
  • Hansel drops pebbles but says he is turning back to look at a white cat on the roof
  • Children think that their father is nearby in the woods, but he has fixed a tree branch to strike a tree to sound like an axe cutting wood
  • Hansel drops breadcrumbs but says he is turning back to look at a pigeon on the roof
  • Children follow a white bird to the witch's house
  • House is "made of cookies and candy, spun sugar and cake."
  • Children ride a white duck across the water to get home

"Nibble, nibble, little mousie
Who's that nibbling
on my housie?"

James Marshall approaches this story with his usual humorous touches. The stepmother, who is nothing but bossy and nasty, asks her husband, "Do you want your pretty little wife to waste away?" She peppers her conversation with "you dolt!" "you donkey!" and "simpleton!" The witch, in her excitement and catching the siblings, slips up with "Two tasty-uh-pretty children have come to stay."  Once she cages Hansel, she does a little dance in delight.

Marshall's illustrations also make the book enjoyable, because they are outright fun. The stepmother is a large woman with carrot colored hair in Princess Leia buns. The witch (as shown above) has green hair and a matching wart, a honker of a nose and Cupid's bow lips. She is adorned with bows from her hairdo to her toes and  when she dances around Hansel she jumps right out of her shoes, revealing skinny ankles and a green pedicure.


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