Hansel and Gretel (BOK)
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A bulbous nose, an overstuffed shocking-red dress, green toenails, garish makeup...has there ever been a more magnificently horrendous witch than this one in James Marshall's deliciously dark re-telling of Hansel and Gretel? A poor woodcutter lives with his wife and two children, Hansel and Gretel. Weak-willed and easily manipulated, the wood cutter gives in to his overbearing, badgering wife who insists he abandons his children to the wilderness of the forest because, well, they eat too much food! There, as they try and find their way home, Hansel and Gretel come across a beautiful sugar-spun, candy cottage and, as the fairytale goes, a horrendous, red-eyed witch who loves to dine on nice, fat children! With great glee, she locks up Hansel (who looks decidedly unamused about the whole affair) and has Gretel work as her slave. Luckily, this witch gets her comeuppance - with some quick thinking and a huge, big kick in the bum, she's straight in the fire! And how do Hansel and Gretel get home to their father? Why, a kindly duck ferries them across the lake. Classic, irreverent, fizzy fun from a picture book genius. Of his work, The New York Times said: "The miracle of Mr Marshall's work is that so often his stories are as profound as they are simple." In 2007, the American Library Association posthumously honored James Marshall with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for a "substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children". Marshall's title, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1989.