It has been such a long time since I have written book reviews for the books I am reading – I used to review every single book. I stopped because (amongst other things) I didn’t really enjoy writing about a book straight after reading it. Either the books I read were powerful, in which case I needed time to digest, or they were not interesting to me once they were finished so I didn’t feel like writing then either.
I have decided, then, that I would just pick out my favourite books and write about them when it suits.
One of the books I read this year I read with Evelina (technically, it’s her book!). It is the retelling of Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman. Not only is this version a joy to read, it is also beautiful and dark and captivating to look at, thanks to the illustrations in this edition by Lorenzo Mattotti.
The story is an old one but it was definitely worth re-reading. It’s a dark, scary story which I started to worry would be too much for Evelina. I forget that I was fascinated by gory and scary fairy tales, even at her age, so we powered on through it and I just held her a little tighter at the worst parts! Neil Gaiman’s writing is a treat and I wanted to linger over the words.
They reached a river, and their father showed them where to ford it, where the river was shallow and the rocks stuck up from the water. They took off their shoes, and they carried them until they reached the far bank, where the trees were thick, and old, and gnarled into shapes that looked like giants, frozen in time.
The black ink drawings of Mattotti’s illustrations perfectly capture the dark horror of the story and contribute to the tense atmosphere.
I will be reading this again and again with Evelina and then Austin when he is older and I couldn’t be happier!