The illustrators Anthony Brown and Ian Wallace, and their interpretation of the story of "Hansel and Gretel" by Brothers Grimm.
by Joanna Laflamme


Illustration or Interpretation

Distinctive features of Brown’s and Wallace’ illustrations

Lack of the fairy tale elements in Browne’s illustrations

The witch and the stepmother in Browne’s illustrations

The meaning of the mirror in Browne’s illustrations

The trees in Browne’s illustration

The differences in the interpretation of the father’s character

Wallace’s illustrations

The major difference between Browne’s and Wallace interpretation of the text


Works Cited


This paper attempts to compare and to analyze the iconography of the two sets of illustrations designed for story of “Hansel and Gretel”. The authors discussed here are British illustrator Anthony Brown and Canadian illustrator Ian Wallace. The illustrations are part of the picture books titled “Hansel and Gretel”. Browne and Wallace are both illustrators and narrators in their books. Browne’s “Hansel and Gretel” was published in 1974, Wallace’s in 1994. The story line in both books is almost identical. There are only two major discrepancies worth mentioning. In Browne’s version the children’s father is a woodcutter and in Wallace’s version, he is a fisherman. The text of Brown’s version clearly states that the woodcutter’s wife is the children’s stepmother. In Wallace’s story the fisherman’s wife is never referred to as a “stepmother” or “mother” only as a “woman” or “wife”. Both books, although different in size have the same editorial arrangement between the text and the illustrations. There is an illustration on the cover and the title page, subsequently the left side is covered with text while the right side presents the illustration, which refers in its content to the events described in the accompanying text. In addition to the main illustrations Browne adds vignettes on the text pages in the center above the text. Its content compliments the content of the main illustration. Wallace does not use vignettes but in addition to the illustrations accompanying pages with the text, we find in his book the preceding text, “opening illustration”, and the “closing illustrations”, which come after the last illustration that accompanies the last chunk of the text. The separation of the text from the pictures creates a visual balance but at the same time the reader has an impression that the same story is being told in parallel narration both textual and visual.

This paper was written for the LIS 519 course Introduction to Children's Literature taught in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta. The web version of this paper was prepared to fulfill the requirements of LIS 600 Capping Exercise. Any questions or comments please mail to Joanna Laflamme