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Rapunzel (Caldecott Medal Book) Hardcover – October 1, 1997
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In older versions of the classic tale Rapunzel, it always seemed improbable that a grown man could scale a tower using only his beloved's hair. Not so in Paul O. Zelinsky's Caldecott Medal-winning version of Rapunzel. Here, Rapunzel's reddish-blonde mane is thick with waves and braids, and cascades like a waterfall down the walls of her isolation tower. In Zelinsky's able hands it's easy to believe that a prince would harbor no hesitations about scrambling up our fair heroine's hair.
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)
From Publishers Weekly
In our Best Book citation, PW said, "A breathtaking interpretation gives the fairy tale new art-historical roots, with illustrations that daringly-and effectively-mimic the masters of Italian Renaissance painting." Ages 5-up. (Oct.)
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
This book shows the two sides of Rapunzel's adoptive mother well. You can see the love for her "daughter" in one picture and then the anger of a demon as catches Rapunzel's biological father stealing more of her plants and as she learns of Rapunzel's relationship with the prince. The fact that Rapunzel was given away by her pregnancy is much more realistic than by a moment of forgetfulness; she'd know better than to do that with the sorceress around.
The prince and Rapunzel actually look quite natural and beautiful (the Renaissance setting suits them), much better looking than the rather fluffy and overdone Barbie and Ken version. Fairy tale heroes and heroines too often seem to be modeled after Ken and Barbie. Zelinsky's representation of them is quite refreshing; not these stiff cardboard-cutout stock characters, but showing much more personality than usual. To me, it's very reminiscent of the Leonard Whitting/Olivia Hussey version of Romeo and Juliette.
And what hair Rapunzel has! Wonderfully thick! It's beautifully painted and colored! Red-gold looks better for Rapunzel to me than Barbie's tow-colored "hair".
And Rapunzel's cat in the background is rather nice touch (being a cat-lover, myself).
Paul Zelinsky can't cease to amaze me with his artwork. And he's totally humanized the story! The characters have more depth and personality than they are usually portrayed having. The text and images he uses to do so are simply exquisite. Aside from his gift at art, he also knows how to use words. A commendable gift.