Family & Baby Storytimes,Reviews of Illustrated Folk and Fairytales and Book Suggestions
"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book." Cornelia Funke
"Everything puts me in mind of a story." Ben Franklin
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Hansel and Gretel Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
Hansel and Gretel Retold by Rika Lesser, Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky, 1984.
Lesser's retelling is based on "the tale's first transcription by Wilhelm Grimm (1810) and its first appearance in print (1812)..."
Does not mention God
The one who wants the children taken to the forest is their mother, not a stepmother
Hansel drops pebbles but says he is turning back to look at a white cat on the roof
Hansel drops breadcrumbs but says he is turning back to look at a pigeon on the roof
House was "...built out of bread. Its roof was made of pancakes and its windows of sugar candy."
Gives detail on the witch, including her keen sense of smell
Hansel is kept in a "little stall" rather than a cage
"Nibble, nibble, nubble! Who gnaws my house to rubble?"
Zelinsky's formal and historically true oil paintings won this book a Caldecott Honor. From the Gale Biography of Children's Authors:
"Illustrations for Rika Lesser's adaptation of Hansel and Gretel brought Zelinsky his first Caldecott Honor Book award. His research for this title took him on long walks in the Connecticut woods. "When I remembered [the story], the image I first thought of wasn't the house; it was of the children lost in the big woods and how small the children are," Zelinsky recalled in his Horn Book interview. He patterned his illustrations after seventeenth-century Dutch genre paintings such as those by the painter Steen, whose work he viewed at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. He also drew inspiration from a painting his great-grandmother once did of Hansel and Gretel. Zelinsky worked from detailed pencil drawings projected onto stretched paper. From these he created watercolor paintings which were in turn overpainted in oils. The result was, as Sylvia and Kenneth Marantz noted in Horn Book, a "pastiche of seventeenth-century painting styles." Regarding the sequencing of his illustrations for Hansel and Gretel as well as for other creations, Zelinsky noted in Horn Book that he actually works out of sequence with the story. "I tend to learn how to do what I'm doing better as I do the book," Zelinsky commented, "and the later drawings are generally better than the first ones.... So the book would start out crudely and become facile at the end." To avoid this, Zelinsky consciously jumps around in his selected illustrations."