*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 Books
andConde 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 Cane
is her first book for children.