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Rapunzel (Caldecott Honor Book) Hardcover – October 1, 1997
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Zelinsky's retelling of Rapunzel reaches back beyond the Grimms to a late-seventeenth-century French tale by Mlle. la Force, who based hers on the Neapolitan tale Petrosinella in a collection popular at the time. The artist understands the story's fundamentals to be about possessiveness, confinement, and separation, rather than about punishment and deprivation. Thus the tower the sorceress gives Rapunzel here is not a desolate, barren structure of denial but one of esoteric beauty on the outside and physical luxury within. And the world the artist creates through the elements in his paintings the palette, control of light, landscape, characters, architecture,interiors, costumes speaks to us not of an ugly witch who cruelly imprisons a beautiful young girl, but of a mother figure who powerfully resists her child's inevitable growth, and of a young woman and man who must struggle in the wilderness for the self-reliance that is the true beginningof their adulthood.
As ever, and yet always somehow in newly arresting fashion, Paul O. Zelinsky's work thrillingly shows us the events of the story while guiding us beyond them to the truths that have made it endure.
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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 School Library Journal
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
- ASIN : 0525456074
- Publisher : Dutton Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (October 1, 1997)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 48 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780525456070
- ISBN-13 : 978-0525456070
- Reading age : 5 - 8 years
- Lexile measure : AD700L
- Grade level : Kindergarten - 3
- Item Weight : 1.09 pounds
- Dimensions : 9.38 x 0.4 x 12.38 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #119,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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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.
I was blown away by the illustrations and unique storytelling. I loved it immediately and do did my daughter. She actually likes it better than the movie!