Cover image for Hansel and Gretel
Hansel and Gretel
Montresor, Beni.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, [2001]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 25 x 29 cm
A retelling of the well-known tale in which two children lost in the woods find their way home despite an encounter with a wicked witch.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.6 0.5 55952.
Added Uniform Title:
Hansel and Gretel. English.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8.M78 HAN 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales

On Order



A retelling of the well-known tale in which two children lost in the woods find their way home despite an encounter with a wicked witch.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5-8. It will come as no surprise to those who look at this distinctive version of "Hansel and Gretel" to learn that Montresor is a theatrical director and scenic designer. As striking as it is, this very much has the feel of a tale that is being told at a distance. The illustrations are cut-paper collage, with Hansel and Gretel paper dolls cut in the style of silhouettes. The backgrounds are pure, fresh colors, grass green, tomato orange, sea blue, with finely cut lacy trees or ravaged houses set against them. Liberties have been taken with both the text and the art to make this a more mystical version of the tale. It is the children's mother who sends them into the woods, but benignly--she worries when they don't return. And this woods is populated not just by a witch but many witches and goblins. Fortunately, there are angels too, but even those beings can't protect Hansel and Gretel from their encounter with evil. The witch's death in fiery flames is riveting; it's juxtaposed with an ending that is sunny but no less dramatic. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Montresor, an internationally known set designer, presents the tale of the intrepid children as a kind of shadow puppet play. Sharp-edged paper-cutout silhouettes of the children stand stiffly in a succession of stark, monumental stage sets, the first one their ramshackle home and, later, the witch's abode, here represented by a castle rather than the edible house of the Grimms' tale. Montresor creates razor-sharp cutouts in colors that reverberate against their backgrounds with such intensity that the compositions sometimes seem to throw off heat. Yet the images themselves are often chilly: the siblings' skeleton of a house, with jack-o'-lantern eyes and a gaping mouth of a doorway; the Hansel and Gretel cut-outs laid sideways in a lonely forest asleep; the crenellated towers and jail bars of the witch's house. The text, centered on the left-hand pages across from the illustrations on the right, omits the wicked stepmother, but still contains plenty of spooky moments: "They knew that in the woods there was sometimes an evil monster, not to mention terrifying devils and witches. One of these witches, more wicked than the others, eats children." In the customary happy ending, Hansel and Gretel free a parade of paper-doll children, but Montresor's graphic formalism may lose readers on the way. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1-In this very abbreviated yet powerful version of the classic tale, Hansel and Gretel leave their ramshackle home to search for food. They fall asleep in a wood filled with monsters, devils, and witches, then awaken outside a castle. Smelling delicious aromas, they enter the building and Hansel is caged by the resident witch; but Gretel seizes the witch's magic wand, releases her brother, and incinerates the wicked sorceress. They both then free the other children imprisoned in the castle and "everything ended joyfully for everyone." The cut-paper collages in primary colors are every bit as stark and stylized as the text, with static character shapes posed against flat backgrounds. The still gestures and stage-set scenery evoke shadow puppetry. Set on white pages opposite the illustrations, the minimal text reduces this story to its most basic. Accessible to very young listeners, the Spartan retelling retains the violence and darkness of the original but the choppy narrative excludes the wicked stepmother, the fattening of Hansel, and the reunification of the family. Visually appealing to the picture-book crowd, this mystical and provocative version is more unsettling than entertaining for its intended audience.-Carol Ann Wilson, Westfield Memorial Library, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.