Hansel and Gretel by James Marshall

Hansel and Gretel

Written by James Marshall
Illustrated by James Marshall

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

How Hansel and his sister Gretel are sent off into the forest to die by their wicked step mother is one of the darkest of all the fairy stories. Here, however, although they are lost in the forest and Hansel is shut in cage and fattened for the fire by the witch, Hansel and Gretel triumph. Gretel stuffs the wicked witch into the oven where she is burnt to a crisp and, loaded with her jewels, the two children return home where they find that their step mother has died. They live happily ever after with their father. In his brightly coloured and lively pictures James Marshall captures the extreme emotional changes that run through this classic story.


Hansel and Gretel by James Marshall

A bulbous nose, an overstuffed shocking-red dress, green toenails, garish makeup...has there ever been a more magnificently horrendous witch than this one in James Marshall's deliciously dark re-telling of Hansel and Gretel?

A poor woodcutter lives with his wife and two children, Hansel and Gretel. Weak-willed and easily manipulated, the wood cutter gives in to his overbearing, badgering wife who insists he abandons his children to the wilderness of the forest because, well, they eat too much food! There, as they try and find their way home, Hansel and Gretel come across a beautiful sugar-spun, candy cottage and, as the fairytale goes, a horrendous, red-eyed witch who loves to dine on nice, fat children! With great glee, she locks up Hansel (who looks decidedly unamused about the whole affair) and has Gretel work as her slave. Luckily, this witch gets her comeuppance - with some quick thinking and a huge, big kick in the bum, she's straight in the fire! And how do Hansel and Gretel get home to their father? Why, a kindly duck ferries them across the lake.

Classic, irreverent, fizzy fun from a picture book genius.

Of his work, The New York Times said: The miracle of Mr Marshall's work is that so often his stories are as profound as they are simple. In 2007, the American Library Association posthumously honored James Marshall with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children . Marshall's title, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1989.


Marshall works his magic on a popular tale, retelling without reshaping it and infusing both text and pictures with ingenuous simplicity lit by flashes of roguish humor. Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

James Marshall

Children's author and illustrator James Marshall (October 10, 1942 - October 13, 1992) was born in San Antonio, Texas where he grew up on his family's farm. His father worked on the rail road, was a band member in the 1930's, and his mother sang in the local church choir. He played viola and entered the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA, but injured his hand thereby ending his music career. He returned to Texas, where he attended San Antonio College, and later transferred to Southern Connecticut State University where he received degrees in French and history. He lived between an apartment in the Chelsea district of New York and a home in Mansfield Hollow Connecticut.

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Book Info


32 pages
Interest Age: From 3


James Marshall
More books by James Marshall


Walker Books Ltd

Publication date

7th November 2013




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