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Hansel and Gretel

Last updated Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Author: Rika Lesser
Illustrator: Paul O. Zelinsky
Date of Publication: 1999
ISBN: 9780525461524
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2011

Synopsis: In this version of the classic fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel are the offspring of an impoverished woodcutter and his wife who leave them in the woods in this Grimm Brother's fairy tale. The trail of bread crumbs they leave to find their way back is eaten by birds, and the children are lured into the gingerbread house of the wicked witch.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Who is Hansel and who is Gretel?
•  Where are they? What is the house in the forest?
•  Why does the house look interesting?

Vocabulary Selection:
•  MISERABLE -- unhappy, uneasy, or uncomfortable, poor; needy.
•  ANXIOUS -- uneasiness because of fear of danger or misfortune; greatly worried.
•  RECONCILE -- to cause (a person) to accept or be resigned to something not desired; to bring into agreement or harmony.
•  REJOICED -- to be glad; take delight.
•  CAULDRON -- a large pot used for boiling, especially one with handles.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Have you ever seen people wearing clothes like these?
•  What is the object under the parents’ bed? (bedpan used before indoor plumbing)
•  Why did Hansel collect, then drop the pebbles along the path?
•  What are some other things to do if lost in the woods?
•  Would you like to find a house made of food? What kind of food should it be made of?
•  Why did Hansel hold a bone instead of a finger for the old woman?
•  What lessons should Hansel & Gretel learn from this horrible experience?

Craft ideas:
Idea #1 – Very Simple
Draw a picture of a house on a piece of paper and then cut shapes of your favorite foods, and paste on to your picture to make a yummy house.

Idea #2 – More Difficult
To make this craft you will need a cardboard box, construction paper, scissors, glue, tape and markers or crayons.
1. Take your box and wrap in construction paper.
2. Take more paper, roll each into a long paper tube, and then stack these paper tubes, securing them together with glue or tape, creating a pyramid shaped roof on top of your box. (Now you have the basic gingerbread house to decorate)
3. Now take your construction paper and cut out a wide variety of shapes – rectangles, squares, triangles, and circles.
4. Glue your shapes onto the house to create windows and doors.
5. Add further candy trimming and decoration. (i.e. - cotton balls for marshmallows, red & white yarn or pipe cleaners for candy canes)

Special activities:
•  Have kids take turns making a path with crumbled paper, then the kids could follow the path.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!