All the expected elements are in place in this familiar fairy tale. Mother craves fresh lettuce; father is caught stealing it from the witch's garden. The witch extracts a terrible price, and the child Rapunzel is taken to a high tower, to which her hair becomes the only means of entry. A Prince finds her, but there are complications that are taken from some less-familiar versions of the tale. The Prince is blinded, Rapunzel is hidden away once more and there is much to endure before reaching a happy ending. Cech employs clear, descriptive language that is fresh and appealing to modern readers, at times seeming to speak directly to his audience. Varying in size from inserts to double-page spreads, with the text often placed in frames, Sansom's lovely medieval paintings complement and enhance the text, depicting the action while concentrating on emotional content. The witch appears appropriately frightening, and Rapunzel and the Prince express all their feelings in their facial expressions and body language. A splendid candidate for a crowd-pleasing read-aloud. (note on story variations) (Picture book/fairy tale. 5-10)
Rapunzelby John Cech, Fiona Sansom
We never really know where a story will begin or end. This one starts with a head of lettuce . . . Thus begins John Cech's enchanting retelling of "Rapunzel," the tale of a poor couple forced to surrender their newborn daughter to a powerful witch, all for having stolen some lettuce to satisfy the wife's unbearable hunger. And so the witch takes Rapunzel to a secluded tower, where the girl spends her days singing and braiding her long hair. Then, one day, a prince hears her sweet voice and everything changes. . . . Complete with fanciful illustrations by Fiona Sansom, this beautiful book belongs on every fairy tale lover's shelf.
Meet the Author
John Cech is a professor of English at the University of Florida where he is the Director of the Center for Children's Literature and Culture. He was the creator, producer, and host of the daily public radio program “Recess!” about the cultures of childhood. He has served as the President of the Children's Literature Association and received the Anne Devereaux Jordan Award for his contributions to children's literature. John has written seven books in the Classic Fairy Tale Collection for Sterling, in addition to retellings of Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Martin Jarrie, and The Nutcracker, illustrated by Eric Puybaret. John lives in Gainesville, FL, with his wife, Eve. Fiona Sansom studied illustration at Kingston University in the United Kingdom, graduating with a BA in 2004. Born and raised in New Zealand, but now based in London, she works full time as a freelance illustrator. Fiona’s work appears in the Kingston Museum’s Brill Collection.
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