Hansel and Gretel By Coco Blignaut aka Coco Mary

Reviewed by Flavia Potenza
Flavia PotenzaBy Flavia Potenza      December 24, 2020

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Hansel and Gretel    By Coco Blignaut aka Coco Mary
In case you haven’t noticed, much of the content in this issue verges on the whimsical. Coco Blignaut’s latest literary effort takes whimsy and fantasy to the max in her third children’s picture book, “Hansel and Gretel.” The Beloved Witch, as she is still known by Topangans, says she is “proud, exhausted and relieved” to finally release her new book and website (darlingchildbooks.com). Blignaut, who writes under the nom de plume of Coco Mary, describes her books as “Modern adapted fairytales and original stories told in lyrical, poetic language, featuring foreign languages and cultures. The pictures invite us into magical earthy worlds with real people, elements from nature, and handmade objets d’art.”  “Hansel and Gretel” is awash in colorful collages, originals designed and published by the author, that will entertain children with an abundance of visual food for thought and discovery. I compare the concept, not the execution, with the Richard Scarry books that my son and I used to read together when he was little. There was so much detail in the pictures that we would talk as much about the visual story as we did reading, and learning the words.
Speaking of words, in all her books, Blignaut introduces a foreign language, in this case, German, seeing as the story of Hansel and Gretel is of German origin.

The back cover, meant to spark interest, says, “They loved the footpath behind their house. It led to a surprising place.” And so it will for years to come.
Blignaut’s other books are “My Bantu Blankie,” an original story that takes place in the 1970s in South Africa, based on a true happening to a six-year-old tomboy girl who loses her blankie in a traumatizing event; and “Mademoiselle Puss in Provence,” a modernized fresh retelling of the original fairytale by Charles Perrault with references to the culture of Provence and the French language. Available in print and ebook at darlingchildbooks.com,$8-$13.
Flavia Potenza
      December 24, 2020

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