Hensel and Gretel Ninja Chicks
by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Rebecca J. Gomez and illus. by Dan Santat
For every reluctant listener who dread the opening of any book that is to be read aloud to them, their every wish has been granted. Here is a book tuned right in to their frequency. Here is a pair of authors and an illustrator who more than likely waited as children themselves for “something to happen.” Something big. Something edgy. Something delightfully action-packed and involving chickens.
A combo platter served up with strains of Hansel and Gretel, the Three Little Pigs, possibly a dash of the Musicians of Bremen and Little Red Riding Hood, our story begins when the two chicks, ahem, Hensel and Gretel, discover Mama and Papa have been kidnapped. Cue the melodramatic music.
These chicks are non-plucked…oh, I mean non-plussed…. by such a dark and devious turn of events. Every drumstick is ready for action. Every feather is aflutter. They are, after all, Ninja Chicks.
Told in a steadily delightful rhyme that adds to the fun, the story takes a dire turn as Hensel and Gretel set forth to save the ‘rents. Twisted and tangled forests are involved. Breadcrumbs are dropped. Until they happily discover a house made of cornbread deep, deep, deep in the dark, dark, dark forest.
What will ensue? What will become of them? Will they be chicken-pot-pied?
Decidedly willing to match wits with any mere fox, the Chicks fight valiantly and with smarts as the puns fly.
The primal fear of losing ones parents is battered and fried up in glorious courage, hilarity, action, and a deep sense that these Chicks can really take care of themselves and anyone else who needs a helping wing. But, please understand, this book is FUNVILLE.
Throw in the ever-amused mind of Dan Santat and you have illustrations with an energy that makes you laugh while you watch the danger unfold before you.
This is a great read-aloud for a group and on a one-on-one basis. If you have children or grandchildren who love to see things go as far as they possibly can in an uproarious way, here is treasure. If you have children or grandchildren who love to laugh, ditto. If you love to read aloud to children, here is a wonderful vehicle for all your dramatic skills.
40 pages 978-0399176265 Ages 5-8
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com
Read alikes: Ninja Red Riding Hood; Three Ninja Pigs