In my world studies preschool class we are studying Germany. I'm sharing lots of the amazing German fairy tales with my students by the Brothers Grimm. By far my students favorite has been Hansel and Gretel by Cynthia Rylant.
In this book, Rylant emphasizes how children can rely on their own smarts, courage and instincts to overcome obstacles in their lives. She also focuses on how evil in the world may at first appear to be good. She writes how the wicked stepmother and witch "wore smiles".
Jen Corace illustrates this picture book in a beautiful handmade, folksy style that suits this old tale perfectly. Their is nothing "Disney" about this book.
The hands on activity we did to compliment this book was to allow the children to create their own witches cottage. I drew an outline of a house on card stock and then cut it out. I set out oil pastels and the children went to creating their very own witches cottage, such fun!