Hi all! Elle here. It’s been a little while since we posted reviews to the site, but I recently I picked up two new picture books that I thought you guys might enjoy. So! Without further ado, I’d like to recommend:

Hansel & Gretel by Neil Gaiman (writing) and Lorenzo Mattotti (illustration)

Since it’s Gaiman and he does all kinds of stories, I should clarify that this IS an all ages picture book so it’s quite short – only about 22 pages of text – but it’s beautifully written and the the illustrations are fantastic. Unlike some of Gaiman’s other fairy
tales, this is a straight-forward adaptation of the original story that he embellishes with lots of little details that add nuance to the different characters.

All of the illustrations are black and white ink paintings that are so expressive they’re almost abstract, like looking at the shadows cast by a flickering candle. The setting of the story becomes eerie and overwhelming, really putting the audience in the position of Hansel and Gretel as their tiny silhouettes wander through forests built of large swirling brush strokes.

Little Red Riding Hood by Sybille Schenker (translated by Anthea Bell)

Schenker is a German artist who does papercraft illustrations, so the illustrations in this book are a combination of collaged papercraft images and laser-cut pages that allow the next page to peek through. It’s a beautiful layering effect that works well with the imagery of a forest. I particularly love the impact of a page of tree silhouettes layered over Red Cap and the Wolf while they talk.

The book is presented like an art object – the cover is a thick archival mattboard, bound along the side with linen thread – and my
copy came wrapped in a clear  plastic slipcover to protect it. The overall impact is very elegant! She has a matching Hansel and Gretel
as well, I think I’m going to have to check it out.

As a side note: While I love this book, Schenker’s art is very different from classic fairy tale illustration and may not be to everyone’s taste. I recommend looking at sample pages online before ordering.