by Paul O. Zelinsky

An elegant edition unfolds the classic tale of the dire outcomes of a bargain made... read more

An elegant edition unfolds the classic tale of the dire outcomes of a bargain made in desperation with a sorceress by a father-to-be. The sorceress raises the child she names Rapunzel until age twelve and then imprisons her in a tower. Known to the girl as a stepmother, the sorceress visits Rapunzel by hoisting herself on the girl's rope-like braid. One day a prince hears the girl singing and begins secret visits to her in the same manner. Their liaison turns into marriage after they hold a private ceremony in Rapunzel's tower dwelling, and soon her dress grows Atight around her waist." After cutting Rapunzel's hair, the sorceress casts her from the tower, and soon disaster befalls the prince. Years later the two lovers meet in the countryside where Rapunzel is raising twin children. Zelinsky drew upon the Italian Renaissance to create a detailed visual environment conveying a great depth of feeling and turmoil. Even within his patterned, formal gardens it's clear that nothing in life can be completely predictable. Here an herb known in German as Arapunzel" - a bellflower seen throughout the book - becomes the object of a pregnant woman's craving. Details of architecture, furnishings, clothing, and flowers are beautifully rendered in oil paintings illustrating a book also notable for its splendid design and complete background notes. (Ages 7-11)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1997

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