Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Hansel and Gretel--the TOON/Neil Gaiman version

I'm seeing a lot of "I'M SO DISAPPOINTED" reviews for this, and even "UGH GROSS I HATE THIS."  That's fine.  That's a valid opinion.


I loved this.  Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.  You know what else?  I love that song (really uncomfortable with the video, though).

I'll just wait here while the majority of you close this review and unfollow me for being uncool and basic and whatever else you want to throw in there.

*twiddles thumbs*

Hey, so for all of you that continued reading, here's my review!

First of all, I'm noticing a lot of recent reviews comparing this to Gaiman's The Sleeper and the Spindle, which I reviewed here.  It's not a fair comparison for several reasons.

Many negative comparisons of Hansel and Gretel have to do with the synchronicity of the art and the text.  It's clear that Gaiman and Riddell work really well together (Riddell also did the UK illustrations for Fortunately, the Milk) and so everything just ... flowed.  The dark, dark art by Mattoti for Hansel and Gretel was actually produced to promote a Broadway play, and then paired with Gaiman's story.  I actually like this because it's two different interpretations of the same story inside the same book.

Speaking of the art, I think it's really a neat choice for a story like Hansel and Gretel.  There is seriously no way that I can think of to make this a "happy story."  There's murder, attempted murder, and cannibalism--and those are just the biggies.  The only thing they have after being abandoned is each other (corny, but true).  Their parents want to kill them.  This witch wants to eat them.  I mean, for H & G, life sucks.  So it's entirely appropriate that the art is basically a swirling wash of black with details picked out in white.

Gaiman's text sticks quite closely to the original Grimm tale, and I especially liked that he kept the mother as the children's natural mother and not the later change to a stepmother.  That part has always added an extra creep factor for me.  Of course, he does his little literary flourishes and that makes me happy.

This is a really nice retelling to have in your collection, if you work at a library.  It provides a welcome counterpoint to all of the lavishly-illustrated retellings, or the creepy ones done by Trina Schart Hyman (I just can't with her art.  Sorry!).


2 comments:

  1. I suspect those who hated this were expecting more Sleeper/Spindle and it just wasn't. It was a retelling. And as I said in my own review, if you're going to have a retelling, Nril Gaiman is a good one to do it.

    I thought the author's note afterwards about the fairytale and its connection to real life was fascinating. And I liked how he found reasons for what happens in the story.

    And yes, the art worked very well with it, it's a bleak story, though I hadn't realised the art wasn't done for this book.

    I quite liked the interpretation of the story in the Humperdinck opera - the kids are sent out to get strawberries because they've knocked over the jug of milk that was all there was for supper. Mum didn't know about the witch. Dad comes back with food and money, happy till she tells him the kids are out in the forest and they both go searching.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I just don't understand when readers want an author's work to be the same all the time. I remember when Tamora Pierce's Bloodhound got slammed by readers because the m/c was more mature (because she got older). Duh?

      I love endnotes, but this one is especially nice. Isn't it fascinating how many variations there are on these stories?

      Delete