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Rapunzel (Picture Puffin Books (Paperback)) Paperback – October 14, 2002
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Of course, this is not the work of an amateur--Zelinsky's lush versions of Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, and Swamp Angel all earned him Caldecott Honors. His gorgeous, Italian Renaissance-styled illustrations are characterized by warm golden tones and the mesmerizing sensation of trompe l'oeuil. Not only does he have the touch of a world-class illustrator, Zelinsky has also proven himself a master storyteller. We are frightened when the sorceress demands to take the baby Rapunzel, we are alarmed when the flowing locks are cruelly shorn, and we rejoice when the prince and his now modest-haired love are reunited. The notes at the back of Rapunzel reveal his careful scholarship regarding the long history of the story (tracing its origins and transformations from Italy to France and finally to Germany and the Grimm brothers)--work that no doubt contributed to his clean, compelling version of the age-old tale. Children will be captivated by the magical story and evocative pictures and adults will delight in the fresh feel of a well-loved legend. (Click to see a sample spread. Illustration © 1997 by Paul O. Zelinsky, published by Dutton Children's Books, a division of Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers.) (Ages 4 and older) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
"'Rapunzel said, "If you please, Stepmother, help me with my dress, it doesn't want to fit me anymore.'
Instantly the sorceress understood what Rapunzel did not. 'Oh, you wicked child!' she shrieked. I thought I had kept you safe, away from the whole world...'"
I thought other parents might appreciate the warning, since you can't preview all the pages when buying a book online.
As he explains in "A Note about Rapunzel" in the back of the book, he traced the history of the story and discovered its roots in Italy, determining then to set his version within the artwork of Renaissance Italy. Rapunzel is the German word for a salad green and root with a flavor between argula and watercress. In some stories the green is parsley called rampion.
In this version a young pregnant wife begins craving rapunzel which she sees outside her window. I must have it, must have it, she tells her husband, knowing that the garden in the courtyard below belongs to a sorceress. She has her rapunzel, but the witch catches the husband stealing it and makes him promise the baby to her.
As the story goes, the sorceress locks the pre-adolescent child in a campanile with no doors and only Rapunzel's long red-gold tresses as a rope to the top. The prince finds her, learns the secret to the top, avows his love, and she gets pregnant.
The story ends happily, of course, following the traditional plot line. What sets this version so very far apart from its siblings is the glorious Renaissance-like artwork. Flowing clothing, long, wavy hair, dark and silvery plant life, blue and gray haze in the background, particular people groupings, perfectly balanced settings, Roman ruins--all traditional aspects of Renaissance art are depicted.
One little intrusion into this Renaissance setting is a kitten whose growth is also measured by Rapunzel's. This Siamese is in almost every frame with Rapunzel all the way to the end which is a cozy tableau of family bliss.
This Rapunzel belongs in every home with a child and adults who appreciate the joy of children's books.
I can't comment on the accuracy and literary side of the book - I'm not an expert on the original tale. However, the writing is wonderful; the story is an easy read with younger children. But clearly, the illustrations are what set this book apart. Many children's books use child-like pictures - but each page of this book is a new and different work of art. Detail and texturing worthy of an art gallery make this a pleasure to view as well as read. Highly recommended.
Zelinsky captures the tale beautifully with his meticulously detailed illustrations, moving with ease and skill from the sensuous wilderness of the witch's garden (where Rapunzel's father goes to gather up the herb rapunzel for his pregnant wife to eat) to the austerity of Rapunzel's tower room. Rapunzel and her lover are portrayed as clear-eyed yet star-crossed lovers, not as cardboard fairy tale inhabitants. Zelinsky does much to humanize this often horrifying tale. Highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I don't know if Amazon is lumping reviews of books with the same title together, but some of the reviews don't match with the book that I purchased (by Paul O. Zelinsky). Read morePublished 2 months ago by A Sourdough Bread Baker
I love Mr. Zelinsky's version of Rapunzel and the illustrations are just beautiful!Published 3 months ago by Blondie
This is a nice book but it's definitely not my favorite version of rapunzel. The usborne and Disney versions are better in my opinion.Published 4 months ago by Amanda
Nice looking book, nice illustrations. However as I was reading it to a 4 year old, the story took a unique, more adult message I was unprepared for, and sensored it as I read it. Read morePublished 8 months ago by See Sea