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Customer Review

on August 4, 2001
I first encountered this exquisite book when it was featured at a book store's children's story hour. Unfortunately, I didn't get to hear the end, because several mothers insisted that the reader abandon it and go on to the next book. You see, in this version, months after the prince climbs Rapunzel's hair to the tower where she is imprisoned, she gives birth to twins. The children listening to the story were roughly 2 to 6 years old and I guess their mothers didn't want them exposed to a fairy tale heroine giving birth.
What a loss! When I finally got a copy of the book to read, I found it to be one of the most moving children's books I've ever come across. The first part of the story is the one everyone remembers from childhood. A sorceress locks Rapunzel in a tower that no one can reach unless the young woman lets them climb up her long hair, but a prince learns her secret and enters the tower. In the rather lame version I remember hearing as a child, the prince takes her away (I can't even remember how they got out of the tower), marries her and they live happily ever after. In this version, the sorceress discovers Rapunzel's pregnancy and banishes her from the tower. She then tricks the prince into climbing to the top of the tower, and causes him to fall, which blinds him. Rapunzel and the prince wander in the wilderness until they find each other. In the end, Rapunzel's tears of love and pity fall across the prince's eyes and cure his blindness.
It's a lovely tale of healing love, deepened by the illustrations, which are not just beautiful, but full of wonderful details, gestures and facial expressions that bring out the humanity, the love, the fears, and the triumphs of the characters. Every time I read this book, my daughter stops me repeatedly to talk about what the characters are thinking and feeling - things she picks up more from the illustrations than the story itself. It's one of her favorite books, and one of mine as well.
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