Children's Literature - Phyllis KennemerElements of "Rupunzel" and "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" are integrated into an original story. The three grazing goats hear a lovely sound. They stop eating and head for the bridge to cross the stream. A mean troll stops them. He has built a tower by the bridge and holds Rapunzel captive there. One day a handsome prince hears Rapunzel's lovely song. He leaves quickly in search of a rope to free her, but the troll climbs Rapunzel's braid and cuts her hair. Then he abandons her in the woods. The goats take care of her and she teaches them to sing. The prince climbs his rope to the tower window, but finds the troll there. The troll throws him out and he is blinded by thorns. He follows the singing of Rapunzel and the goats. Rapunzel's tears of joy open his eyes and he can see again. The cartoonlike illustrations exaggerate the humorous aspects of the story. This distortion of two fairy tales may be confusing for the intended young audience. Children need a solid basis in traditional folk literature before being introduced to parodies. Mixing two tales together before youngsters are thoroughly familiar with the elements of each separately may prevent them from ever understanding the basic motifs and morals of either individual tale. This type of tinkering with fairy tales is more appropriate for middle school students than for beginning readers. Part of the "Tadpoles: Fairytale Jumbles" series. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
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