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Sugar Cane: A Caribbean Rapunzel Hardcover – July 2, 2007


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 860L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Jump At The Sun (July 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786807911
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786807918
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #439,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In her first book for children, award-winning poet Storace moves the story of Rapunzel to a sun-drenched Caribbean island teeming with magic. In this tropical retelling, a young fisherman's pregnant wife craves sugar cane. After a long search, the fisherman finds a sugar-cane patch and helps himself, but he is horrified to learn that the garden belongs to sorceress Madame Fate, who claims the fisherman's baby girl, Sugar Cane, on the child's first birthday. Storace's story cleaves close to the original's basic elements: the sorceress locks Sugar Cane in a high tower, which she enters by climbing her captive's long hair. Sugar Cane's voice draws a handsome young man to her high prison, and the young couple falls secretly in love. The story allows a more hopeful (and chaste) ending: the lovers escape in a whirl of terrifying magic and hold a joyful wedding before creating a child. Storace writes with a poet's command of rhythm, sound, and imagery: the water at night, for example, is "dark as sleep before dreams rise." Working in his signature textured style, Colón produces images that are as mesmerizing as the text. Brilliant, light-infused hues and swirling lines create glowing compositions of the island setting, the frightening conjure woman, and the Afro-Caribbean characters. Too long for a single read-aloud, this powerful tale will be best enjoyed in installments. For another fairy tale reset in Caribbean culture, suggest Robert San Souci's Cendrillon (1998). Engberg, Gillian

About the Author

Patricia Storace is an award-winning writer whose essays and poems have appeared frequently inThe New York Review of BooksandConde Nast Traveler.Dinner With Persephone, her travel memoir about Greece, was a New York Times Notable Book, and has been translated into many languages.Sugar Caneis her first book for children.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
Wonderful story with beautiful illustrations!
Cosmic Girl
Since we live in the Caribbean, I purchased this as an extra summer reading book for my 8 year old daughter and 10 year old niece.
Lexy Fran
Rapunzel/Sugar Cane is well tended and loved by her adoptive parent.
E. R. Bird

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A small girl child comes up to you. She wants a fairy tale. You are the librarian she is asking a book from. You are entirely on your own. A couple options open themselves up to you. If the word "princess" spills from this child's lips then you may have a problem. Those insidious Disney Princesses are probably what this girl is referring to and you're going to have a heckuva time convincing her that there is any other kind of princess in the world. Sometimes, though, you get a girl child that doesn't care what kind of princess book you find, just so long as it's pretty. At that point, you have a couple options. You could locate Sneed's version of Thumbelina and McClintock's version of Cinderella. You could try your hand at a little Trina Schart Hyman or Nancy Ekholm Burkert (if you're feeling brave). There's even Paul Zelinsky's Rapunzel and Rumpelstiltskin for flavor. Of course, these princess stories have one thing in common with Snow White and it's not her penchant for apples. A good librarian mixes it up a little. There will be some The Girl Who Spun Gold and a touch of Sukey and the Mermaid (Aladdin Picture Books) slipped in amongst the tales.Read more ›
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I really wanted to love this book. As the white adoptive father of an African-American girl, and the foster father to an African-American boy, I am always on the lookout for books that prominently feature black people and black children in a positive light. And I will say that the art in this book is beautiful, and the Caribbean treatment of the classic fairy tale is, on the whole, a wonderful update to the story.

However, there is one page whose poor choice of words spoiled the whole book for me. At one point "Madame Fate," who has kidnapped Sugar Cane and taken her away from her parents, locking the young girl in a tower and keeping her away from the world, is referred to as Sugar Cane's "foster mother." My daughter, seven years old, picked up on that right away since we are a foster family. We had to stop reading while I explained that Madame Fate is not actually a foster mother, that people who are foster families do not just steal children away, and that foster parents are people who provide homes for children who need them. Madame Fate is a kidnapper, not a foster mother.

In short, the poor choice of words on one page means that I am unlikely ever to read this story to my daughter (or foster son) again, and I would *not* recommend this book for any adoptive families or foster families.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Deena B on December 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I brought this book for my niece I read it loved it and neicey may have to read it at my house. I could actually feel the characters I am having a hard time giving it up
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Renee C. Ozer on May 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I ordered this on the strength of a review of recent renderings of the Rapunzel myth in The New York Review of Books ("The Girl in the Tower" by Alison Lurie, May 1, 2008), which also explored why this story has such staying power. The artwork is beautiful and the story is well told, with a very scary sorceress as the villain. This is a far cry from the usual wan blond waiting for help in the tower.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lexy Fran on June 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Since we live in the Caribbean, I purchased this as an extra summer reading book for my 8 year old daughter and 10 year old niece. We received the book yesterday, I read it at bedtime and they LOVED it. The girls did not want me to stop reading. To test their attention/comprehension; I would pause after each page and ask questions: they could repeat the story word-for-word!

I also enjoyed the incorporation of Caribbean lifestyle and culture in the story: carnival customs, local fruits and daily living. The illustrations are beautiful! I love the art work.

We need more books like this!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ulyyf on June 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book. It has beautiful, rich illustrations, and it has wonderfully poetic text. The story is much more fleshed out than many versions of Rapunzel - and I'm not ashamed to admit how happy I am to have a princess story that avoids all that long blond hair. I'm tired of my two biracial nieces complaining about their hair because it's "not princess hair". Really, it breaks my heart to hear it.

I firmly recommend this to any child's library. One major caveat though - this is a long book. A LONG one. And it's hard to cut out the text without really selling the story short. It takes easily 25 minutes to read on its own - and that's if you rush and don't spend any time to really enjoy and appreciate the art or to savor the words you just read.

Don't try this on any child too young to have any real attention span (there's a reason this book is listed as appropriate for children over the age of 4) and don't try this when you don't have the time. You'll just cheat yourself. Set aside some real time for this one - it's worth it.
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