This extraordinary book—surely one of the most beautiful picture books of the year— has a complicated history. It began with Mattotti’s phenomenal illustrations, originally commissioned for the Metropolitan Opera’s 2007 production of Engelbert Humperdink’s opera Hansel and Gretel. Later French publisher Gallimand commissioned Jean-Claude Mourlevat to write text to go with it. And now Neil Gaiman has done an all new adaptation of the story. I was lucky enough to hear Gaiman read this at Carnegie Hall earlier in the year and it’s a stunning version of the tale…but it’s Mattotti’s claustrophobic, world building art that makes this one of the books of the year. In his world. the unlucky children are mere black blobs with a thin armor of white space protecting them from a tangled web of darkness.
This book is the center of several events this weekend. Neil Gaiman is speaking at the NYPL this evening, and it’s being live streamed.
And Mattotti himself appears tomorrow morning at McNAlly Jackson Books in Soho. He will have books re-signed by Gaiman on hand but Gaiman will not be appearing…however, if you are very lucky maybe the great Mattotti will doodle something in your copy of this masterpiece.
November 1, 2014 at 11:30AM
McNally Jackson Books
52 Prince Street
(between Lafayette & Mulberry)
New York City, NY 10012
Come hear Lorenzo talk about his art and share more about the making of Hansel & Gretel. After the event, copies of Hansel & Gretel, presigned by Neil Gaiman, can be signed and personalized by Lorenzo.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.