I love fairy tales and so does my daughter! But what intrigues me more are the fairy tales with added twists to make them more interesting and filled with learning life lessons they offer to children.
Recently, I got a chance to review Hansel and Gretel by Kate Jewels.
I know….I know, What you all are thinking!
I am well aware of the fact that the original Hansel and Gretel was written by Grimm Brothers. But the book I am talking about today is a adaptation of the classic Hansel and Gretel fairy tale…..Doesn’t that sound interesting?
You must be wondering what is the twist that makes it worth reading.
Well, in this version Jewel Kats’ main character, Hansel, is a mischievous, yet courageous, five-year-old boy with Down syndrome. This book is written with the aim to help children to look past the disabilities and treat everyone with kindness and respect. It is very important for us, as parents, to teach our children the values and expose them to all sorts of issues that they will faces in the real life situation. For, if they are not prepared they might not be able to react in a socially appropriate way, the consequences can be really heartbreaking for others.
Children need to understand that “No one is perfect in this world”. If they have this set in their mind they will never treat anyone, even one with special needs, disrespectfully. Labelling children with DOWN SYNDROME does not change the fact they are human being and they too have strengths and weakness. Everything about Down Syndrome is not BLACK AND WHITE therefore acting with a set stereotype is not at all justified!
Hansel and Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist is about two young children Hansel and Gretel. When their family runs out of food, Gretel agrees to go into the forest to look for some. Hansel, who had Down Syndrome, wants to go to along with Gretel, but their mother is nervous thinking Hansel might not be of help or may run into trouble. After some thinking, their mother finally agrees and they both head to the forest.
Hansel runs like a free bird and is exploring forest, whereas, Gretel, is bit scared and is unable to keep up with Hansel. Hansel wanders off in the forest and is moving fearlessly, as is typical of children with Down Syndrome. Soon he comes across the Candy House and thinking about the food goes inside. Hansel uses his mind to trick the witch into sharing her secret candy recipe so that his family would no longer have to worry about food. Not only does he trick the witch, but he also feels bad for the witch and invites her to her family to have food. This leaves the witch touched!
What I love about the book:
The illustrations in the book are very well done and complimentary to the story. The illustrations have a bit dreamy effect added which make them perfect for the fairy tale. I love the way Hansel deal the entire situation with the witch using brains and determination. This is a perfect example to show that children with Down Syndrome should never be underestimated. They also have their strength and weakness like all so called “Normal” children. As an educator, at times I come across situation where special needs students do not focus on the activities and wander off. This books helps you to understand even though they might seem to be wandering off, but for them they might be busy with something which they find more interesting. It is important to understand that they have their brain continuously working and trying to make sense of things, which are well beyond our reach. People should not be judge by the appearance is something that readers can learn from the story.
What I did not like:
The point where Hansel mother stops him from accompanying Gretel into the forest saying that “You’re sick, Hansel. You won’t be able o help in the forest.” is something I did not like much. I very well understand that the whole idea was to tell how Hansel was able to do the impossible even when he was not well, but may be this could have been put in a different way. May be these words should not have come from a mother. (Might be being a teacher I am over touched, but this is what I feel).
Apart from this, I really love this book. The book, as per the writer, is appropriate for kids 5 to 7 years, but I feel they might not be able to get the whole idea behind the story, if they simply read it. It would be best if someone would read it to them making them understand each and every aspect about this wonderfully written insightful fairy tale.
You can purchase the book here: http://www.amazon.com/Hansel-Gretel-Fairy-Syndrome-Ability/dp/1615992502
~~~~~~~~I was not compensated for this review. I received this product on heavily discounted price, via. Tomoson, in exchange for my honest opinion. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.~~~~~~~~~~