|In French, but with the same cover art|
Tony Ross personalizes the tale with a funny tone and the added details mentioned above. His stepmother is a horrible person, snarling at her husband to dump the children in the forest and referring to them as "two extra, useless, snivelling mouths to feed" and then calling "Goodbye, darlings" as they are led away. In response, the woodsman creeps around sadly and allows himself to be bullied.
Much of the book's humor come from Ross' art. When Hansel and Gretel return home the first time, their cat waves the British flag at them, while a mouse prepares to bop the cat on the foot with a hammer, as the cat is standing on the mouse's tail. At the witch's table, she serves Gretel a beverage in a frowny face mug. And as the oven overheats, well dressed mice vacate the gingerbread house carrying tiny luggage.
The story is full of animal friends and foes: the cat and mouse at home, a bat, rabbit, fox and others in the forest, cats, a frog, a snail and a fork-toting rat in a witch hat in the gingerbread kitchen, and the jewel-decked swan who gets the children back to their father.
Ross' adults look pretty grotesque anyway, but the witch has the added bonuses of green warty skin, scraggly teeth, Pippi Longstocking style stick out braids and an impossible half moon face.
This would be a keeper for me if I ran across a copy!