Thursday, December 17, 2009

Book Review: The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children by K. McGowan

4/5 stars. Fay Holaderry, the evil witch from Hansel and Gretel, has resurfaced. Although everyone thought that Hansel and Gretel had defeated her, it turns out that the witch survived.

Today the woods around her old gingerbread home have been claimed by urbanization and her house is no longer disguised as gingerbread and candy. However, as a witch, Holaderry proves her resourcefulness when it comes to finding tasty children to eat. For example, there are conveniently located drop-off boxes for “donations” and strategically placed Helpers who package up naughty children for pick-up.

It’s quite the set up, and parents of mischievous children everywhere seek out her services. And so it was that Mr. & Mrs. Blink moved to Grand Creek after much research hoping to find a solution to their childcare troubles. However, Sol and Connie are no ordinary kids; in fact, they are rather extraordinary. Together they must find a way to overcome the evil witch and escape becoming dinner.

The Bottom Line: The classic fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel has been brought into the modern era with a contemporary retelling by debut author Keith McGowan. Black and white illustrations by Yoko Tanaka help set the dark mood and add to the charm of this witty little novel. Enthusiastically recommended for young adults who appreciate a slightly morbid sense of humor. It's simply wicked fun.

Details: The Witch’s Guide to Cooking with Children by Keith McGowan, illustrated by Yoko Tanaka. Published by Henry Holt and Company in 2009. ISBN: 978-0-8050-8668-3

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