I have recently received a note from the wonderful folks at LEAFpdx, a wonderful design studio run by Joe Freedman and Ilisha Helfman in Portland, Oregon. They have recently sold out of there wonderful PrimoGraf Drawing Machine and now have a proposal for a new project. Check out their Kickstarter page to learn about their Hansel & Gretel shadow theater book. I am excited about this book project as it is designed in an accordion fold binding that allows it to be read as a book or stretched out and projected on the wall with the aid of a light. This is a fun way to interact with the book and Joe suggests that viewers can make up their own version of the story based on some simple text printed on each spread. When I was in Germany last year during the 200th anniversary of the publishing of Hansel and Gretel, I had the chance to read much of the stories (albeit in English, as mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut) in Berlin, nearby the grave site of the Brothers Grimm. This is when I learned about the long oral tradition of the Hansel & Gretel folktale and how it has evolved over the centuries. That is why LEAFpdx’s version of beautiful diecut images is so appropriate to bring a new generation’s perspective to the story.
Be sure to act now to join your fellow supporters to help make this shadow book a reality. They are halfway to their goal and need your help.
p.s. Amazingly enough, I have been reading another version of Hansel & Gretel lately, but this one is an app. (No, it’s not a dirty word around here, as I think there is room for everyone to share their stories in a variety of ways.) Grimm’s Hansel and Gretel by StoryToys is an interactive virtual 3-D pop-up book for young readers to engage with on mobile devices. While the LEAFpdx shadow book is a hands-on work of art that encourages your imagination, this little app is very straightforward and easy to follow the characters through the digital landscape. So we have gone from oral to written to projected to digitized and I have not even mention the two modern movie takes on this beloved Grimm’s tale that are in theaters right now.