Hansel and Gretel
“It has been said that guardian spirits watch over and protect small children, and that may be so. But there are also stories of children who find the courage to protect themselves. Such is the story of Hansel and Gretel.” Cynthia Rylant
We took a break from Five in a Row (FIAR) this week in order to spend some time with another classic fairy tale: Hansel and Gretel. I chose to use this book by Cynthia Rylant as our main source, though we used a number of other resources as well. I really enjoyed Rylant’s writing style and her focus on the children’s bravery.
In addition to reading that book several times, we listened to the classic version by the Brothers Grimm from Listen to Genius, as well as enjoying the beautiful illustrations from Paul O. Zelinsky in Hansel and Gretel retold by Rika Lesser. Ian had fun with an Android App from StoryChimes that he played with on my Kindle Fire. Other than that, we took it pretty easy this week as far as “school” because of a busy schedule. If we do this story again in a few years with my younger children, I hope to do more, like build a gingerbread house, make patterns with candy, or take a walk and try to follow a trail of stones.
The one big thing we did do was go to see a children’s concert version of the opera by Engelbert Humperdinck (1854-1921), featuring selected songs, sung in English, with a narrator. Ian was already familiar with most of the music because we listen to a recording of it quite often. It was his first time at a major orchestral performance and he was slightly overwhelmed at first, but ended up enjoying it. We also watched a video (available streaming on Netflix) that uses a lot of the opera’s music and its storyline (which is slightly different from the more familiar Grimm’s version).
While I love Rylant’s description of the children’s bravery, I think Humperdinck completes the picture with his repeated mentions of God’s providence and protection of children in a scary situation. His beautiful “Evening Prayer” is one song I don’t mind being stuck in my head.When at night I go to sleep Fourteen angels watch do keep Two my head are guarding’ Two my feet are guiding Two are on my right hand Two are on my left hand Two who warmly cover Two who o’er me hover Two to whom ’tis given To guide my steps to heaven