Jewel Kats, Author
Claudia Marie Lenart, Illustrator
Loving Healing Press, Fiction, Oct. 10, 2014
Suitable for Ages: 3-7
Themes: Down syndrome, Fairy tale, Special needs
Opening: “One fateful night, a storm ripped through Cottage Country…The rain finally stopped pouring days and days later. Cottage Country was deserted. The only people left were the fisherman and his family.”
Synopsis: A storm sweeps through a village and a fisherman and his two children, Hansel and Gretel, are the only survivors. Their food runs out and Hansel and Gretel are sent to search for food in the forest. Their mother protests that Hansel is sick and too young for such an adventure. But, Hansel’s father disagrees and says he has Down syndrome and that they can’t always protect him forever. Hansel takes the lead and bravely runs into the forest and stumbles upon the witch’s candy house. Will Hansel be able to outwit and negotiate with the witch?
Why I like about this book:
- Jewel Kats retells this magical story with the main character, Hansel, who has Down syndrome — a different ability.
- It is the perfect read for World Down Syndrome Day, March 21.
- This book will help readers look beyond disabilities and see Hansel as a clever, capable, determined and successful hero, who faces the witch with wit and kindness.
- The story breaks stereotypes and touches on prejudices about what a child with a disability can achieve. And there is an unexpected twist with the witch, who also shouldn’t be judged by her appearance.
- Claudia Lenart’s illustrations are breathtaking, whimsical, and contribute to the book’s appeal. Lenart is a fiber artist who pokes wool and other natural fibers, like alpaca, with a barbed needle to sculpt her soft characters and scenes. This is the perfect medium for a fairy tale.
Resources: Check out the website for World Down Syndrome Day, where you can find information, personal stories, worldwide events and how to participate. And visit Jewel Kats and Claudia Marie Lenart at their websites.