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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Do you like gingerbread? I do. Especially with icing and all kinds of sweet treats on top. How about an entire house made of gingerbread? Sounds good. Somehow I don’t think it would last long; you can’t really have a house and eat it too, now can you? That was the Witch’s problem. Her beautiful Gingerbread House was the talk of the community and everyone believed she would win the House Beautiful Contest – that’s if she could keep her Gingerbread House in one piece long enough for the judges to see it. Hansel and Gretel, lost in the woods, happen upon the Gingerbread House and, hungry from wandering, they join the menagerie of animals consuming the sweet treats. The Witch catches them and puts them to work reinforcing and protecting her Gingerbread House – just until the judges can see it. Do you think she’ll win? And what’ll happen to the Gingerbread House after the competition is over? Will she let Hansel and Gretel go?
Lois Wickstrom and Ada Konewki’s picture book, Saving the Gingerbread House: A Science Folktale, is a clever twist on the Hansel and Gretel story. The plot follows the father and two children, Hansel and Gretel, as they venture into the woods for a family picnic. The father warns the children of the Witch and her Gingerbread House, but children will be children and they will wander off and get lost. They’re not sure about the woman who puts them to work on the Gingerbread House – is she a witch or not? The story promotes sibling and family collaboration, learning to listen to adult instruction, and working creatively and productively. The illustrations are spectacular and really make the story come alive. Loved it!