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Intended for parents to listen along with their children: This is a beautifully descriptive retelling of the original Hansel and Gretel story set in modern-day Montana. Told by Gretel herself, it weaves into the fairy tale wonderful new oddities and characters.
“This bottle contains an imp.”
The witch’s long, now greenish colored index finger extended upward toward a dusty, gold-tinted bottle on the high shelf. An unpleasantness grew about the witch like a gray cloud. The witch’s eyes met mine. The witch’s eyes were wide, and to my surprise, the witch looked a little frightened.
“Under no circumstances are you to open it.”
The witch turned back toward the bottle and looked at it as if in awe. “Even I can’t control that imp.” She turned abruptly back to me. “Don’t touch it, rub it, or even dust it off. There are things more terrible than witches in this world.”
She watched for a moment as if to judge my reaction. The cloud of unpleasantness seemed to vanish, “Come along.” There is even a not-too-unfriendly monster.
Still, even with the new additions, the original story still unfolds along the traditional lines. This time, with a sophistication that can be enjoyed by both adults as well as children. And in this version, even the evil stepmother is forgiven.
Studies have shown that when parents offer more complex stories to children, it encourages learning and improves the bond between parent and child. The child does not have to understand everything that they hear - because the relationship is the most important part of the interaction.