[I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. No other compensation was received.]
Hansel & Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist Here is a new take on the classic story. Hansel is five years old and has Down Syndrome — but that doesn’t mean he can’t help his family when they are in dire need of food. In fact, he may just be the one to save them all. Hansel & Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist is illustrated in gorgeous needle-felted wool paintings that give a rich and magical feel to this surprising and delightful tale.
Title: Hansel & Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist
Author: Jewel Kats
Illustrator: Claudia Marie Lenart
Loving Healing Press, 2014, Fiction. ISBN: 978-1615992508
Suitable For Ages: 3 – 8+
Fairy Tale Variation, Kindness and Compassion, Down Syndrome, Children with Disabilities/Special Needs
“One fateful night, a storm ripped through Cottage Country. People – small and large – hid in their basements.”
A fisherman and his family need food after a terrible storm. His children, Hansel and Gretel, are sent into the woods to help find food for the family. Hansel may have Down Syndrome, and only be five years old, but he is certainly not helpless! In his quest to help his family, he comes upon a gingerbread house and meets a witch. Instead of the classic tale though, this story has a different and significantly kinder ending.
Links To Resources:
- The National Down Syndrome Society — is a great resource for information about Down Syndrome.
- Here’s an incredible video on Youtube called Dear Future Mom that is beautiful.
- Here’s another Youtube video that is called Just Like You that is fantastic.
- Tutorial for Rainbow Needle Felt Wool Painting Tutorial on Caludia Marie Lenart’s site.
Why I Like Hansel & Gretel- A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist and Why You Should Read It:
- This book has such a classic and timeless fairy-tale feeling to it.
- This book uses a familiar story and then reworks it into something kinder, yet more realistic, and more hopeful.
- This story explores what is possible, what is fun, and what happens when you deviate from the traditional script.
- The needle-felted images and scenery are beautiful and stunning. They set the tone perfectly and whisk you to a far-off land!
- These pages took hundreds of hours to create and what an effect! Each page is imbued with magic.
- You will find that you want to linger on each page a little longer just to take all of it in.
- This story does a great job of putting the readers into Hansel’s shoes and enabling the readers to see the world from his perspective. Watching adults talk about you like you aren’t there, being dismissed prematurely, and constant assumptions about your skills and abilities — is very eye-opening.
- This story is also fantastic in that the hero has Down Syndrome, but the story is not about the fact that he has Down Syndrome — it is about a boy helping his family in a time of need.
- My son asked me to read it to him over and over again. He asked me if I would let him go off into the woods to search for food. (I’ll get back to him on that one.)
- This is the first opportunity I’ve had to talk with my son about what Down Syndrome is. In all of the picture books I’ve read, this is the first book to have a character who has Down Syndrome.
- I’ve now read several books by Jewel Kats — and she knows how to tell an unforgettable story! She had both me and my son glued to the couch hanging on to every word. She has mastered the art of the page turn and keeping us in suspense!
- Really, this book is all good things. It is so much fun to read this story and watch as characters change the familiar ending and all the repercussions that follow. It’s a fabulous retelling!
Where to Get it:
- Author: Jewel Kats. And you should know that she’s the real-life inspiration behind the Harper Lodge character in the Archie Comics.
- Illustrator: Claudia Marie Lenart (This is her Etsy page — her work is so beautiful!), her blog is here, here is a great story about how she illustrated the book, and this is her Facebook page. (I spent a lot of time looking at her work. It is astounding!)
- Facebook page for Hansel & Gretel.
More Reviews of this Book:
Where Obtained: I received a review copy from the illustrator. No other compensation was received. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
FTC Disclosures: Some of the links in the post above are Amazon affiliate links and others are IndieBound affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase something, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Which goes to fund my family’s picture book habit. It’s a vicious cycle, but we manage. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”