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Animal Theme/Character, Early/Young Readers, Fairy/Folk/Tall Tale, Picture Books, Read-Aloud Suggestions, Teacher & Parent Recommendations

HENSEL AND GRETEL: NINJA CHICKS by Corey Rosen Schwartz & Rebecca Gomez Illustrated by Dan Santat

Hensel & GretelSimply, phenomenal!  Hensel & Gretel:  Ninja Chicks is my favorite in this picture book series so far!  In this version of the Hansel & Gretel fairy tale, Mama has been taken by the evil fox at large in their community.  Hensel & Gretel see the sign advertising the Three Pigs Dojo “Get Empowered, Not Devoured” (read The 3 Ninja Pigs) and decide to be proactive in learning Ninjutsu skills in order to defend themselves and their family from the Fox.  On the day Hensel & Gretel return home to find their Papa has now been taken, they set out to attempt a rescue.  It is at this point that the Hansel & Gretel fairytale structure is smoothly blended into Hensel & Gretel’s tale.

They trekked til they spotted a feather.

“It looks like we’re on the right track!”

They kept up the chase,

dropping crumbs, just in case,

so they’d easily find their way back.

The forest grew twisted and tangled

as Hensel and Gretel searched on.

The light faded fast

and they noticed at last

that the trail–and the breadcrumbs–were GONE!

The illustrations appear larger than life to match the text with large expanses of bright color and deep jewel tones like the best comics and graphic novels–for which Dan Santat was first known.  The action sequence in the Fox’s house–ingeniously made of cornbread–almost visibly vibrates on the page with the motion of Santat’s illustrations.

This is a joyous reading experience for ANY age reader.  Hensel & Gretel weaves together the best of traditional and modern storytelling in structure, language and illustration.  This is a perfectly paced adventure story for classroom or home read-aloud and an independent read that will absolutely delight and tickle young readers!

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