Hansel and Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist

Hansel & Gretel9781615992508_p0_v2_s260x420Hansel 0& Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist

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.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

31 thoughts on “Hansel and Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the review. Thought it would be a fun share this week with World Down Syndrome Day on Saturday. Jewel Kats has written several other fairy tales featuring children with special abilities.

  1. I love books that break stereotypes. I am intrigued especially to know what the witch’s challenge is. Also this dimensional art sounds terrific.

  2. Two years ago during PiBoIdMo, I wrote down a Hansel and Gretel idea. Reading your wonderful review of this story, Pat, encourages me to give that one a try.
    I love picture books that spotlight children for their special abilities…this one sounds really clever…just like Hansel. I will try to get a copy.

    • Thank you Teresa. I’m sure the author will appreciate your comments. She’s written a number of fairy tales that include diverse characters with cerebral palsy, autism etc.

  3. I’m so happy to see your review of this book! I didn’t realize that there’s a World Down Syndrome Day! Jewel Katz is one creative lady and pairing her story with Claudia’s amazing felted art makes for quite the fairy tale! Have you read the Panda Bear Princess book also by Madame Katz? My son is crazy about that one.

    • This was my first exposure to Jewel Katz. She is very creative and I can’t believe all of the hero stories she has written starring kids who have special abilities. I love Claudia’s fiber art. Thanks for the suggestion.

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