Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Rapunzel” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  167 ratings  ·  59 reviews
Caldecott Honor winner Rachel Isadora?s gorgeous collages breathe new life into this classic tale, capturing Rapunzel?s striking beauty and the lush African setting?a new home for this story?with wonderful details such as Rapunzel?s long dreadlocks and the prince?s noble steed?a zebra. Readers will delight in the vibrant illustrations, thrill at the appearances of the frig ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 16th 2008 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Rapunzel, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Rapunzel

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack KeatsHooray for Anna Hibiscus! by AtinukeAnna Hibiscus' Song by AtinukeAnna Hibiscus by AtinukeGood Luck, Anna Hibiscus! by Atinuke
books about kids of colour
47th out of 124 books — 12 voters
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack KeatsI Like Myself! by Karen BeaumontPlease, Baby, Please by Spike LeeAmazing Grace by Mary HoffmanMufaro's Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe
African American Picture Books
169th out of 268 books — 80 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 301)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This is the second retelling of Rapunzel I've read, and unfortunately, I just felt that it did not do the story justice. This is a dark story - an evil witch, or in this case an evil sorceress, steals a baby, and locks her in a tower cut off from the world. When she chances to find happiness anyway, that is snatched away as well... and then only by luck is there a happy ending. For all its darkness though, this story read like a Wikipedia summary. There was no feeling of danger, or fear, and the ...more
Rapunzel has never been one of my favorite fairytales, though as a girl I was, of course, enchanted with the idea of having hair long enough and strong enough for someone to climb! ;-> Even so, I absolutely LOVED this book! The artwork is AMAZING! It really transported me--magic and princes riding zebras, the African sun--such gorgeous, gorgeous colors. I don't think that the retelling itself is anything that spectacular, other than the setting; paired with less inspired or more traditional a ...more
Lisa Vegan
Ah, growing up in the sanitized 1950s: my version of Rapunzel, read to me when I was about 4 years old, had no pregnancy. Horrors! The how of the pregnancies in this book are also appropriately sanitized.

I’m not a huge fan of this fairy tale, or fairy tales I general, but this retelling is good enough, and short enough for the shortest attention spans.

The illustrations are what makes this book so great. I love African art, and the amazing collages in this book do look like African art. The setti
Based quite closely on the Grimms version of Rapunzel, but set in Africa. My students enjoyed comparing and contrasting this with Zelinsky's version of Rapunzel. I really liked the illustrations...very different in style from Zelinsky's, but very bright and colorful.
This version of Rapunzel is written by the Brothers Grimm and retold and illustrated by Rachel Isadora. This story is about Repunzal living in Africa, although the book does not state she is African based on the illustrations lets us know the that setting is in Africa . The story gives a slight twist on Repunzal, and the prince fairy tale. They refer to the witch as a sorceress and Rapunzels, hair hung down with African beads on it. I think this is a good book for children ages 3-7. I think the ...more
Gwen the Librarian
I love Rachel Isadora's re-tellings of classic fairy tales. This is the third one I've seen and each is a nice, simplified version of the story, something that is hard to find sometimes with folklore. I also love her African settings and portrayals - setting the story in a new culture makes it fresh. In Rapunzel, I was especially struck by Rapunzel's long braids, perfect for climbing. The gorgeous and colorful collages of painted and textured paper bring the African locale to life.
Alexis White
This is a very culturized retelling of Rapunzel. While the beginning of the story shows the struggle of not having medicine to keep people healthy. The mother has to give up her only child because she was too ill while pregnant. The child lives a horrible life and has many struggles, till one day she falls in love. While she isn't suppose to see or talk to anyone besides her keeper she ends up getting kicked out and the love of her life tries to kill himself.
This story is actually very scary fo
Tracy St.
Rapunzel dictates a well known story with an African twist. This story speaks of a young girl whom was locked in a tower by an evil sorcer for years and only visited by the sorcer by throwing her long hair down the tower and having the evil witch climbing up her hair. One day though a price climbs the tower and marries Rapunzel upsetting and ruining the evil witches plans. Because this is such a well known children’s story, I loved that the pictures do not match the classic story that many chil ...more
Kylie Hodgson
I loved the idea behind this book. I looked more into the author and found that she remakes many original fairytales into cultural fairytales. I personally enjoyed how she based this story in Africa and that the illustrations included the African background and incorporated animals. The only major changes that are present in this story are that the story is based in Africa and that the sorceress doesn't immediately lock Rapunzel up, instead she lets Rapunzel be free and then locks her up after s ...more
This a retelling of Rapunzel set in Sub-Saharan African. The only changes made to Grimms' standard version seems to be that Rapunzel's parents live in a hut and the prince "threw himself from the tower" rather than the witch pushing him or because he let go out of shock.

I am always puzzled why some picture book versions of Rapunzel include how Rapunzel gives the game away by remarking that she has no idea why her dress is getting tight. More PG versions simply say the sorceress discovered the p
Again, I am disappointed in Isadora's lack of imagination when it comes to retelling fairy/folk tales.

In this one Isadora attemps to retell the tale of Rapunzel. She begins by introducing a husband and wife who are expecting a child. The wife craves the "rapunzel" plant in the neighboring yard, but of course it belongs to a witch. There is no explanation whatsoever of what the plant is. Children will be confused.

Anyway, so the husband gets caught stealing the plant and is forced to hand over the
Eva Leger
Beautiful! A friend recommended this to me after I read Rachel Isadora's The 12 Days of Christmas with my daughter a few months ago. That sucked. It sucked so bad that without a recommendation from a knowledgable friend I would have stayed far away from anything with this authors name on it.
But this is beautiful. How can something so awful come from someone who wrote something so beautiful? (That's rhetorical by the way. No, I really don't need any know-it-all-snobs to tell me how it's possible
Sarah Davis
this book is good for preschool and primary grades. the pictures are awsome they all look as if they have some form of texature and the collors set the mood for the book and capture the mood of every page. the king and queen are going to have a baby and the queen craves the rapunzel which is a plant in the evil sorceress garden. the king climbed the fence and brought the queen some rapunzel. when he went to climb the gat the 2nd night the sorceress catches him and he promises she can have the ba ...more
Tierra Redmond
A Review of Rapunzel
By: Tierra Redmond
Rachel Isadora, is a children’s book illustrator and writer. She often creates books about art, an entertainment, she even retells fairy tales. When Isadora writes she normally attempts to cater to diverse cultural groups. In Rapunzel, the author, Rachel Isadora uses her artistic ability and provides a twist to the plot. She has used great visual imagery and word imagery to capture the attention of readers. This version of Rapunzel differs from the original
Rapunzel, retold and illustrated by Rachel Isadora, tells an African version of Rapunzel. Students will most likely relate this with the movie Tangled. The pictures are busy and collage like, with patterns, and different line strokes. I’m not sure I would use this text in first grade because it talks of Rapunzel's dress being tight because she is with child, which is how the sorceress discovers the prince (Rapunzel's husband) has been visiting. More than that though, I don't like how the prince ...more
Kari Weber
The expectant couple could not have known that the child they longed for would be snatched away by an evil sorceress. Rapunzel grows up locked in a high tower with no chance of escape. When a prince hears beautiful singing, he decides to climb Rapunzel’s long hair to take her as his wife. Before long, the sorceress discovers the betrayal, snips off Rapunzel’s hair and banishes her to the wilderness. Blindness befalls the prince, and he is left to wander aimlessly until the day he hears singing a ...more
Sharia A.
This story is popular throughout elementary schools! This version of Rapunzel is told with mythical tones and context. The words may be frightened yet the pictures are bright and detailed from the setting to the clothes the characters had. This story illustrated the book in a way that every page seems to get better and better. This book is a great tool for teachers to use when they want to discuss how different cultures can explain the same story. I would use this book during instruction if my s ...more

This is a traditional retelling of the original. The sorceress discovers the prince has been visiting Rapunzel because she "gets with child."
BUT...The illustrations are amazing!! Isadora creates an African setting and people in beautiful collages. She has done several fairy tales in this style.
Brandi Smith
In Rachel Isadora's retelling of this classic folktale, Rapunzel is born in an African village and has long black locs. It is intended for children ages birth-8 years(N-P).
Although this retelling is set in Africa, with an African cast of characters, the author is true to the original version of the story. Isadora combines painted tissue paper in earthy hues, and vivid patterns to create collages that leap off the page to illustrate this story.I gave this book 4 stars.
This book would be appropri
Analissa Cox
Even though this version of Rapunzel kept its original story line this book was amazing! I loved the twist in culture, because it gave a different perspective to the story. It gives a wider range for many other girl of the, what I'm assuming African culture, be able to make connections with this version of the story. Even though its really the same plot, the pictures is what really makes this book special. They were brightly colored and revealed many cultural aspects. The illustrations really re ...more
I would recommend this for grades 1-3rd. The book tells the classic story of Rapunzel based in a different part of the world. Rapunzel is colored and has dreadlocks. She lives in a tall hut after taken by a sorcerer from her parents. This version will show students that Rapunzel can come from many parts of the world and not just the traditional one taught. It will help children to appreciate and identify other cultures around the world.
Rachel Isadora


Now this version of Rapunzel I LOVED! I thought it was so neat to be able to read a version of a common fairy tale story that dealt with different cultural aspects and a different view from an African American culture's stand point. I loved how the hair was of braids and not long blonde locks to embrace the different culture. I would definitely use this book in my classroom since it is multicultural and I loved how the story was told. I recommend this book for a
I LOVE these illustrations! And the fact that this version of the tale is set in Africa. It is beautiful!
Everyone knows the tale of Rapunzel however this version is transformed by African culture. The story mirrors the classic tale, which I have always loved but the thing that drew me to this book was the front cover illustration. When I opened the book I was delighted to find the pages full of beautiful illustrations which incorporates African culture into it, setting a new tone. I like seeing different cultures transform a story I have always known well because it helps me to learn about cultures ...more
May 27, 2014 Wendy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: karla
Retelling of Rupunzel in an African setting.
This is basically the traditional Rapunzel tale, just with an African twist on it. I think that it would be great for classroom use because it brings in a little bit of diversity among the readings or library. Its a tale many young girls have heard before, just put in a different setting, so i think it would grab readers attention to learn about this unique setting. I think it would also be good to use for a compare and contrast of the original version and this one for a class.
Rachel Isadora's artwork is beautiful! Full of color and interesting details, the illustrations are really what make this a wonderful book. The story is a classic and very basic retelling of Rapunzel. While the setting and characters are clearly African, the story itself has very few cultural hints. The story is not told from any particular perspective; the only story detail that surprised me is that Rapunzel ends up pregnant as a result of the prince's visits.
Mar 28, 2012 Laura added it
Shelves: edsl-520
This is the Rapunzel story that we all know and love but the illustrations show this set in Africa.
Theme:love, tradtional fantasy, cultures
This book could be used with other Rapunzel stories and the students could compare and contrast the differences between the stories. They could talk about how the words in the story is not different from the traditional one, but the setting is different from the illustrations.
Recommended age 5- 14
Basically the same tale as the traditional Rapunzel, with African characters. I particularly liked the notion that she has long locks of kinky hair to let down, as this hairstyle is often suppressed in mainstream media. Also, I liked that she saved the prince's sight in the end, not sure if that is in one of the original versions or not. She is not really an agent of her own success, though, which is a weakness of this story in general.
A fun twist on Rapunzel... the story is set in Africa and the scrapbook style illustrations bring out the African setting and culture, while the story remains very close the traditional Brother's Grimm version. A beautiful book to be used as a companion when studying fairytales, or even alone, it would great for young readers and others who are interested in traditional tales or culturally authentic [African] illustrations.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad
  • Precious and the Boo Hag
  • Sootface
  • Dona Flor: A Tall Tale About a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart
  • Annie and the Old One
  • Max Found Two Sticks
  • The Lion's Share
  • Aunt Flossie's Hats (and Crab Cakes Later)
  • The Mitten: An Old Ukrainian Folktale
  • The Rain Stomper
  • Sandy's Circus: A Story About Alexander Calder
  • The Girl Who Spun Gold
  • The Quiet Place
  • The Mitten
  • Back of the Bus
  • Jingle Dancer
  • Peeny Butter Fudge
  • Hiroshima No Pika
Rachel Isadora is an award-winning children's author and illustrator. She has written children's books on multiple topics including ballet, life in America and Africa, and has illustrated several Brother Grimm tales in an African setting. She is most well-known for her Caldecott Honor Award book "Ben's Trumpet". She was a ballet dancer before she became an illustrator and children's writer.
More about Rachel Isadora...
Ben's Trumpet Say Hello! Peekaboo Morning There Was a Tree Old Mikamba Had a Farm

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »