The next book on my Wishlist for this month is Neil Gaiman and Lorenzo Matootti’s Hansel and Gretel. I came across this book during the initial days of my research into books by Neil Gaiman. When I saw this online, all that I knew was that it was an illustrated book with storytelling by Gaiman. Then, I came across The Sleeper and The Spindle, and peeked at a few pages. And loved what I saw. Yet, this was not the stage where I decided to put the book on my Wishlist. It was when I saw a few page snapshots on Brain Pickings that it sealed the deal for me. That was when I decided that I will own the book one day. The illustrations in it just make the dark story five shades darker.
In this book, Neil Gaiman has given his spin on the classic story book by The Grimm Brothers’, by the same name – Hansel and Gretel. It’s again, a story like most other Grimm Brothers’ tales, quite sad and dark. And while I would assume that this book is more targeted at an audience that is older than even 18 (considering how dark and scary it looks), Gaiman and Mattotti’s Hansel and Grete is for children – Amazon says that it’s for those between the ages of 7 and 10.
While I have my reservations against children’s books that have more than a bit of the creepy element, (as I said when reviewing Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), these feelings are put at ease by what Gaiman says about books that scare children. He believes that protecting children does them no good. In fact, he says that protecting children can leave them unprepared to tackle dark things that come their way. Books like this tell children that yes, there are dark and dangerous things out there, but also that they can be beaten. I have to admit, this statement has got me thinking and even admitting that in the hands of authors like Grimm Brothers and Gaiman, children can find the strength to fight the dark.
I just can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this book!