Hensel and Gretel: Ninja Chicks

SCHWARTZ, Corey Rosen & . illus. by Dan Santat. 40p. Putnam. May 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399176265. POP
PreS-Gr 2—After their mother is abducted by a fox, chickens Hensel and Gretel take rescue into their own hands by learning to become ninjas in this rollicking fractured fairy tale. They train at the 3 Pigs Dojo (recognizable to fans of The Three Ninja Pigs), until one evening they return home to find their coop ransacked and Papa gone. Leaving a trail of crumbs, they search the forest until stumbling upon a house made of delicious corn bread. After Hensel is taken in (literally and figuratively) by the fox, Gretel pops down the chimney and the pair leap, kick, and slice their way to justice. Action and movement abound in a fast-paced tale brimming with silliness and humor. Rhyming text never misses a beat, flowing smoothly and incorporating laughs into every line: "You two Ninja Chicks got us out of that fix, and justice—not dinner—was served." Santat's comic-style panels keep momentum going with richly colored mixed-media illustrations and showcase two hilariously expressive kick-butt heroines. No helpless, victimized protagonists here—only empowered poultry, ready to make it their mission to "rescue, protect, and defend."
VERDICT Even those unfamiliar with the previous tales from this team will love this retelling. A great addition for any library.

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