About the Book
This all happened a long time ago, in your grandmother's time, or in her grandfather's. A long time ago. Back then, we all lived on the edge of the great forest.
Neil Gaiman and Lorenzo Mattotti both remember the horror and fascination with which they read the Grimm Brothers' "Hansel and Gretel." The writer and the artist now join forces for a brilliant reimagining of one of humanity's most enduring tales. Be brave, be bold, and keep your wits about you--Gaiman and Mattotti are welcoming you into the woods.
Neil Gaiman on comics and scaring children, with Françoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman
It's a challenge to be a children's book publisher and want to put out something genuinely haunting in today's climate. We all know children have to be protected from experiencing anything too real. So we filmed Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly with Neil Gaiman at his new house in Woodstock to talk about comics and children and exposing them to fear and dark material in books.
Gaiman says, "I think if you are protected from dark things then you have no protection of, knowledge of, or understanding of dark things when they show up. I think it is really important to show dark things to kids—and in the showing, to also show that dark things can be beaten, that you have power. Tell them you can fight back. Tell them you can win. Because you can, but you have to know that."
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
“Astonishes from start to finish...The book itself is a gorgeous and carefully made object...Their rendition brings a freshness and even a feeling of majesty to the little tale."
--THE NEW YORK TIMES - click for full review
“If this isn’t the definitive edition of 'Hansel and Gretel,' it’s absolutely necessary."
--Kirkus Reviews STARRED REVIEW - click for full review
“Gaiman makes the story’s horrors feel very real and very human, and Mattotti’s artwork is genuinely chilling."
--Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW - click for full review
“A perfectly frightful treat."
--Shelf Awareness STARRED Review - click for full review
“An elegant, blood-curdling retelling of the centuries-old story."
--Wall Street Journal
"Pitch-black India ink is used to great effect, creating dark and terrifying landscapes that threaten to envelop the tiny figures of the children....Mattotti’s amazing work will inspire a new generation of readers, and this volume will give chills."
--School Library Journal
"Mattotti masterfully and subtly uses negative space so each image isn’t immediately noticeable, like the most menacing game of hide-and-seek, and the abrupt oscillation between the clean, white pages of words and the silent, chilling dusky pictures is striking. While this isn’t a graphic novel per se, Gaiman’s fans and lovers of visual storytelling will devour this eerie version of a classic.
"An old tale told newly, yet through its intended lens --- dark, frightening, and rich with symbolism. This is a story to tell your children, and it is one that serves almost as a rite of passage. It introduces the idea of mistrust, the fear of being left behind and lost, and the ability to reason your way out of bad situations. And in this version, Gaiman and Mattotti give us something new --- imagery and prose that are a perfect match, and take the story to new heights."
--Graphic Novel Reporter - click for full review
"And what a version Gaiman has delivered—worthy of a spot on anyone’s reading list. It should also be required reading for all children both as a primer to the fairy tale genre and as a paragon text in the art of concise and effective storytelling."
--The Roarbots - Click for Full Review
"Some books you’re excited about because you like the author and you know what to expect. Others are exciting because you like the author and you have no idea what to expect. That’s the case with this TOON Books version of Hansel & Gretel written by Neil Gaiman."
-- 100 Scope Notes, School Library Journal
Hansel & Gretel Heading to the Big Screen!
Juliet Blake, who teamed with Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg on “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” is developing a live-action “Hansel and Gretel” movie based on Gaiman's TOON Graphic.
“For me, retelling Hansel and Gretel was a way of telling an old tale in a way that made it immediate and true, and about us, now,” Gaiman said. “It reminds us of how paper thin civilization really is. It’s about hunger, and about families.”
--Read the full story at Variety.com
Neil Gaiman Reads Hansel & Gretel at Carnegie Hall!
"Thousands turned up for Neil Gaiman’s highly anticipated performance at Carnegie Hall on June 27. The evening was touted as a “multimedia storytelling event” and showcased the prolific author’s premiere U.S. reading of The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains and Hansel and Gretel accompanied by visuals and a live score."
-- School Library Journal Feature Story
“I love Gaiman’s and Mattotti’s Hansel & Gretel. The writing is rich. ("They went so deep into the old forest that the sunlight was stained green by the leaves.") And the art is striking. I have never seen a more chill-inducing rendition of the witch's gingerbread cottage. I swear it looks like there's a skull atop it."
--Julie Danielson, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
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About the Authors
TOON Graphic Special Features
- The Changing Tale - At the end of the book, an historical account of the evolving tale of Hansel and Gretel entices readers to reread and read further.
- Deluxe Edition - A stunning oversized deluxe edition features a die-cut cover in thick board–the perfect gift and treasurable keepsake.
- Mastering Fear Through Fairy Tales - Acclaimed author Neil Gaiman has long ago shattered the barriers between high and low, adult and children. Returning to the source of his childhood interest in narrative, he lends his unique voice to a timeless story that provokes fear and fascination. Through Gaiman's thrilling account of Hansel and Gretel's horrific encounters, we all learn something about how to master our own fears.
- A Visual Narrative that Unleashes the Imagination - Lorenzo Mattotti's gorgeous brush ink illustrations dare to take on the emotionally charged story of parents who abandon their children to starve to death. The stark black and white images presented as a two-page spreads throughout the book are at once inviting and thrilling. The alternating sequences of text and images engage the reader in a way that propels his or her own imaginative powers.
Our Hansel and Gretel Teacher Guide outlines the ELA Common Core Standards to support standards-based instruction in the classroom using this TOON Graphic. The lesson plan offers detailed questions for students with page references. This free guide was designed by a team of passionate literacy experts led by Hsin-yu Chao.