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Hansel and Gretel
These children were very unlucky due to their father marrying a woman who was wicked. They had an awful stepmother who wanted them out of the house because she claimed there wasn't enough food for all four of them, and she convinced their father to lose them in the woods.
Gretel's brother was smart enough to gather pebbles in his pocket when he overheard what the parents planned on doing to them. He and his sister were able to find their way back because of the stones. They thought that their worries were over until their father took them into the woods the next day, losing them once more.
This time the children left bread, but the birds ate up their trail, and they were finally lost. They just knew they were doomed but found a cottage made of treats. They began to eat the walls and door until they were discovered by a witch who locked up Hansel in a cage. This witch had very bad vision, and the children used that to their advantage until they were able to trick her into the oven burning her up and saving their lives. They found gold coins in her home and left to make their way to their home once again.
Their father who they found sobbing, asked for their forgiveness, stating that their wicked stepmother was dead. The children forgave their father and told him he would never have to chop wood again, because of the money they found and they lived happily ever after.
This fable is one that most children find quite intriguing and fun to read. Your class will love the heroes in this brother and sister pair who were strong enough to take their lives in their own hands and live a happy life in the end. 
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This book was written in the nineteenth century and collected by the Brothers Grimm from a folk tale. It is said that this book was written during a time of famine, which may be why the book it was written this way. The story which has been revised since its birth, relays a different message to children of today.
This book is a great tool for children to learn that they can in fact protect themselves when the need arrives. I feel this book will alert them to the fact that you don't have to take life lying down at any age.
When I was young and our class read the book, it charged me to be like those children and gave me an empowered feeling. This book empowered my belief in myself because I wanted to be like them in that I would never accept things that I have the power to change.
The Brothers Grimm authored a classic that will empower children for years to come. This book will remain a staple for many classes around the world.
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Play It Safe Activities
- Book Discussion - After reading the book, have circle time with the children to discuss what it is they read. Have the children talk about what they thought about the book as a whole. Ask the children if they think the children were smart. Ask the children what would they do if they were lost in the woods. Ask the children what would they do if someone tried to harm them. Give them great options for becoming their own heroes like;running away from a person who might harm them or finding an adult to ask for help.
- Draw - Have the children draw pictures of the children when they were lost or have them draw pictures of when they found their father and how happy they were.
- Play - Re-enact the book using the children as the play actors. Assign a child for all the main characters and have the rest of them to become the birds who ate the bread during the second time they were lost. This activity will help them relive the book and help them become a part of the class play. Use props for the re-enactment such as a big drawing for the woods, wings made out of paper on the arms of the children who are the birds, use paper for their bread crumbs, paint small pebbles white for Hansel, and use large paper to draw the candy house. You can use more props if you so desire, but be sure to have each child play a part in the play even if you have to double cast. Optional: Invite parents to come watch your class play.
These activities are sure to bring fun and empower your children to take their safety in their own hands. This book is a classic, and, in its own way, has a unique way of relating to our children today.
 "Hansel and Gretel". Ivy's Domain. September 16, 2009 <http://www.ivyjoy.com/fables/hansel.html>