From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3—Isadora sets the classic fairy tale in a sunny African setting. A child, taken from her parents by a sorceress, "grew into the most beautiful child under the sun." When she is 12, the evil woman locks her in a high tower, climbing up Rapunzel's beautiful, black, flower-strewn hair when she wants to ascend her prison. The story remains true to the original, including the ending in which the young woman and her twins are reunited with the prince, and she cures him of his blindness. Colorful, vibrant oil paints and collages brighten up the story. The artwork has rich brushstrokes and is heavily patterned, and details abound, including the green warts on the sorceress's face. Add this book to Isadora's fairy tales reimagined in Africa, such as The Princess and the Pea, The Twelve Dancing Princesses
(both 2007), and The Fisherman and His Wife
(2008, all Putnam).—Carrie Rogers-Whitehead, Kearns Library, UT
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This oft-sanitized Brothers Grimm tale is given a faithful—if indeed grim—retelling in the latest of Isadora’s African-set fairy-tale adaptations, seen most recently with The Fisherman and His Wife (2008). The story races along with every scandalous plot point intact: Trapped by an evil sorceress, Rapunzel uses her long hair to allow a prince entrance into her cloistered tower. When her ensuing pregnancy tips off the sorceress, the vengeful captor tosses the prince into thorn bushes that blind him. As with Isadora’s previous retellings, the text is scant and the abrupt happy ending doesn’t really satisfy—but her wild, colorful Africa makes up for it. Sprawled across double-page spreads, the collage assembly will take repeat examinations to fully appreciate; thick brushstrokes render skin as textured and rich as wood grain, and the landscapes are chaotic patchworks cut from swaths of burnt orange, deep brown, and the sorceress’ stormy purple. Young listeners will also find plenty to scrutinize—it’s a dazzling garden of images, particularly given the paucity of the story’s seeds. Preschool-Grade 2. --Daniel Kraus