In this modern-day Hansel and Gretel story, Saucy and Bubba struggle to get along with Krissy, their alcoholic stepmother. One freezing cold night, Krissy locks Saucy out of the house, and Saucy must sleep in the barn. In a desperate move, Saucy and Bubba run away to their aunt's house - except Aunt Vivian isn't home. Trying to take care of Bubba for several days forces Saucy to take charge of her own life and accept a terrible sacrifice in order to find safety for herself.
This is a simple story that weaves through the tangled threads of a family and builds to an ending full of hope.
"Author Pattison and narrator Monica Clark-Robinson imbue this update of Hansel and Gretel with just the right mix of youthful idealism and harsh reality. . .Clark-Robinson portrays Saucy as a loving yet cautious girl who is constantly worried about her happy-go-lucky brother." (Audiofile)
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Kids face modern problems in spin on classic tale
I'd definitely recommend that any parent, who has a child who might be facing some family conflict, pick up this book. Saucy carefully tries to protect herself and her brother from the dangers of her step-mother's drinking--but she struggles with figuring out how to get the help she needs to face those dangers. Lots of kids would be able to relate to the challenges of figuring out who to trust in times of crisis. Fortunately, the book ends on a hopeful note, after Saucy negotiates the help she needs.
The narrator's voice perfectly opened up the nostalgic gingerbread building moment that begins this book. Saucy's voice was "saucy" and her little brother's voice was all boy. You can tell each character clearly, plus Clark-Robinson's overall classic tone suited the feel of the novel.
Saucy's heard the promises before, that her stepmother will quit drinking. So when Saucy opens the kitchen cupboard and finds that bottle of rum hidden in there, oh, my heart just went out to her. Here she was, faced with the evidence that her own house is not a safe place, and her powers to fix that were limited. It just made me want to rush into that house and rescue her. But that wouldn't be for Saucy. She's going to try to rescue herself and her brother.
- Loriee Evans