This retelling of a very familiar story by Michael Morpurgo and Emma Chichester Clark is sure to entice readers who do not already know the tale, and for those that do, they will pause afresh to enjoy Morpurgo’s narrative embellishments of this quite lengthy version – and Clark’s arresting illustrations.
Stylistically, German folk-art influences the art work, particularly family and domestic scenes. The forest is literally and figuratively dark, and the scenes at the witch’s cottage belie its sparkling decoration on the cover. Clark’s watercolour and soft crayon images are given lots of space in both one-page and double-page spreads, and throughout, the pages given gentle and atmospheric touches with smaller images and borders. This is an excellent example of how design can enhance a text of any sort without overwhelming it or making it difficult to read. This edition makes an excellent introduction to the story, or a more developed reading of it for those already familiar with the basics of the tale.