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FICTION

Hansel and Gretel’s Gingerbread House: A Story About Hope

ISBN 9780711244795.
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PreS-K–Feelings of worry and impatience lead to problem-solving and a lesson on forgiveness for two pairs of siblings in these reworkings of familiar fairy tales. Depicted as ordinary children living in modern times, Hansel, Gretel, and Goldilocks and her younger brother, Eddie, live in a village at the foot of a misty blue mountain “next to a wild, dark forest.” Hansel and Gretel are twins whose father, a baker, always creates a new holiday treat for the village. He goes to town to buy flour and now can’t get home in a terrible snowstorm. Hansel and Gretel need to come up with a solution. Goldilocks has a problem with Eddie, who makes her very angry by copying everything she does. One day he drops a breakable bear on the floor. Created to serve as reading lessons, the stories are told in simple prose. The text runs across both the top and bottom of colorful, busy pages. Oversized, dewy eyes are a common characteristic of the two-dimensional characters, a few of whom are drawn with brown skin. All ends well: The father returns just in time for the celebration, and Goldilocks learns to forgive Eddie, because she, too, has broken something. Purists may find the constructs heavy-handed, and the logic occasionally falters. But these are competent creations that may stir empathy in beginning readers. A “Next Steps” section features discussion points and activity suggestions.
VERDICT Blending the familiar with the new, both of these are suitable for young readers; primary grade school teachers could use them for lessons that involve social-emotional learning.

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