Strangest Book of the Week #17 – updated!
Hansel and Gretel
A Deluxe Living Story Book, illustrated by Tadasu Izawa and Shigemi Hijikata, 1967.
The auction listing:
This is a board book, illustrated with cute, big-eyed puppets. The cover sports a 3D, lenticular card (which is kinda hard to show in a static image, unfortunately…). The Japanese character style was, so I read, becoming more popular in America in the late 1960s, and it looks like there were a number of these puppet books. The witch is particularly cute; a kindly-looking granny with a snaggle tooth. This version of Hansel and Gretel is abridged, with no first trip into the woods where Hansel leaves a trail of shiny stones, and neither does he look back and wave goodbye to his cat, and so forth. In most versions, it is the children’s step-mother who convinces their father to leave them in the woods. In this version it is “the wife” – not “mother”, not “the woodcutter’s wife”, pretty much just “the wife”. And there’s absolutely no mention of her at the end; the children ride the swan, meet their father and go back home, rich and happy.
Even watered-down versions of fairy tales can be fascinating!
update March 5th, 2015:
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1968) just came in, and I have listed these two together for sale on eBay. Same artists, with the lenticular cover card. This one is slightly smaller than Hansel and Gretel, but otherwise in the same style. Check it out: