Author: Mike Klaasen
Publication Date: June 8, 2016
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling
Rating: 4/5 "I liked it!"
I received an eARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.
A famine decimates a magical realm, and the family of ten-year-old Hansel and his little sister face starvation. Their parents decide that the best hope for all of them against almost certain death is to abandon the children deep in the forest, but Hansel leads Gretel home by following a trail of pebbles that glow in the moonlight. Still desperate, their parents prevent Hansel from finding more pebbles, and then they abandon the children even deeper into the forest, where they become thoroughly lost. Hansel and Gretel follow a white bird to a shack in the woods and fall captive to Petra, an evil witch, who fattens Hansel for slaughter. Hansel tricks Petra into thinking he isn't fattening, then pushes her into the oven—only to discover that they may not yet be out of danger.
What a wonderful read! I truly enjoyed making my way through these forty four pages.
I loved that Klaasen was willing to put this novella into words that modern day students would understand;. Too often, I find that the books we are encouraged to read in school have antiquated language that students drudge through. This novella would be a wonderful starting point for any student who is interested in fairy tales! Additionally, Klaasen includes the original tale at the end of the piece. This provides a wonderful opportunity for teachers to work on comparison/contrast text structures with their students. That's right, teachers, two methods for comprehension improvement are readily available in this novella!
Another wonderful assistance to students is that this book has very few errors. Therefore, students will be able to practice their grammar skills with the sentences in this book.
While I don't believe that this book would be suited toward my older students, I can definitely see my seventh and eighth grade classes having a ball! If I am able to get a few more copies, I would love to use it for creative writing pieces!
"The Frog Prince" and "Hansel and Gretel." Mike has also written "Backlash: A War of 1812 Novel," and two young-adult novels: "Cracks" and "The Brute." He has published two nonfiction books: "Fiction-Writing Modes: Eleven Essential Tools for Bringing Your Story to Life" and "Scenes and Sequels: How to Write Page-Turning Fiction." Mike publishes "For Fiction Writers," a free, monthly, online newsletter about the craft of writing fiction. For more, see www.mikeklaassen.com.