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Rapunzel (Classic Tales for the Cellphone Generation)

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  11,091 ratings  ·  663 reviews
Surely among the most original and gifted of children's book illustrators, Paul O. Zelinsky has once again with unmatched emotional authority, control of space, and narrative capability brought forth a unique vision for an age-old tale. Few artists at work today can touch the level at which his paintings tell a story and exert their hold. Zelinsky's retelling of Rapunzel r ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published October 1st 1997 by Dutton Juvenile (first published January 1st 1997)
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So here’s a story, guys. Husband and wife are in love. Wife has crazy cravings. Husband satiates cravings at cost of wife’s baby. Baby raised by sorceress. Sorceress keeps baby locked in a tower from the time she’s twelve, so she never comes in contact with men.

From stage left, in comes the dashing Prince, who pulls himself up Baby’s – now Young Woman’s – hair and enters her tower.

Enters. Her tower.

Rapunzel saw that he was young and handsome; in her own heart she felt a happiness she had never k
Maybe because my teacher said something in class, but I was expecting something different from this book. I thought maybe it would be 'de-constructing' the fairy tale in someway, but instead it was just sort of putting it together in a mismash of various versions, some Grimm, some earlier traditions. The illustrations were interesting, and the abundance of cats in the pictures were nice.
John Yelverton
A very fun story, but it definitely depends on what version you read.
I loved the illustrations in this book, particularly the use of color. (Caldecott Honor book, too.) Great details that could easily be overlooked, too. I also liked reading the history of the fairy tale. I did not know it dated as far back, or know of the many changes that had occurred. In fact, only vaguely do I remember ever hearing a version where Rapunzel was pregnant, and that's why the witch cast her out.

This is also one of those fairy tales that, though I love the aspect of long, gorgeou
The story of Rapunzel was always one of my favorite fairy tales growing up. I was intrigued by the idea of a girl kept hidden in a tower, letting her hair down to let the world in, but never being able to leave that tower. With sumptuous oil paintings that allow the beauty of the tower and Rapunzel with her amazingly-long tresses to be highlighted, the author/illustrator takes readers to a different place and time than their current surroundings. Echoing as he does the style of Italian Renaissan ...more
Ashley Adams
1. Picture Book: Traditional Literature
2. This is the retelling of Rapunzel, the story of a young girl who is forced to grow up in isolation and confinement because a sorceress is hiding her from the king, when she meets a prince who is enchanted by her voice and her long, lustrous hair. She then has to learn how to live on her own after many years of confinement, and is reunited with her prince.
3. Critique:
a. Zelinsky brings the age-old tale of Rapunzel to life with his beautiful illustrations
“Rapunzel” is a Caldecott Medal award winning book from the talented Paul O. Zelinsky and it is a classic Brothers Grimm tale about how a young woman named Rapunzel meets her true love after being trapped in a tower for many years and how she tries to keep this secret from a wicked sorceress. “Rapunzel” is truly a captivating story about true love that many children will love for many years.

Paul O. Zelinsky’s story about a young girl imprisoned in her castle has been a cult classic in the fairy
Mark as A, B, and C
A = In this re-telling of a classic tail, Paul Zelinsky blends the more modern Grimm tale with an older Neapolitan story "Petronsinella". A new husband and soon to be father tries to satisfy his wife's craving for the rapunzel growing in the sorceress's garden next door. Caught stealing, he agree to give his new baby to the sorceress in return. The sorceress raises the child and then places her in the woods in a high tower with no entrance except a high window. The only access
Mariah Olson
Rapunzel is another book I’ve known and read since I was a little girl and is one of those ‘princess locked away in the tower’ books that most young girls love to read about, considering she gets rescued by the handsome prince. The illustrations in this book gave great pictures to go along with the reading by showing the characters vividly and the places they went. The tower was beautifully drawn as well as Rapunzel and the details in her long, braided hair. I loved how the sorceress was shown a ...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Once upon a time there was a happily married couple whose only sorrow was that they did not have a child. Then one day, they learn the woman is pregnant and the sorrow is replaced with joy. The wife liked to sit by the window overlooking a beautiful walled garden owned by a sorceress. One day she saw an abundant bed of the herb rapunzel, and a great need to eat some overcome her. Telling her husband she will die if she doesn't have some, he dutifully climbs down into the garden and steals some. ...more
Monique Clem
Age group: 6-11
Paul O. Zelinsky

The book tells about a man and woman that bare a child after not being able to. Her cravings during pregnancy cause her to be enticed by her sorceress neighbor's rapunzel (parsely) in her garden. Once caught by the sorceress she agrees to let them have the rapunzel only if she gets to keep there child. After getting the child, she names her Rapunzel and she keeps her locked away in a tower until a prince comes by and hears her sing. They fall in love and Ra
Rike Jokanan

What I like about this story is not its happily ever after but it is more on the main character's loooong hair. How can a girl have such a long hair that somebody climbs it to reach where she is without making the owner of the hair gets hurt or the hair lost?

Hey, Girl in the world...
What is Rapunzel’s strength saved in her hair?
I won’t doubt that it is her courage to be alone kept in a very tall tower spelled by a powerful witch. Let’s say the witch symbolizes a cultur
I loved the artwork in this Caldecott winner. Paintings reminiscent of priceless Renaissance art that hangs in museums. Simply beautiful.

But if this were a YA story, I would rip it to shreds. Somehow, this shizz is totally ok for fairy tales. But it just totally got on my nerves.

Art = 5 stars
The story of a kidnapped girl, left alone in a tower, thrown out into the wilds to die when she becomes pregnant by a prince who survives a 50 foot fall only to lose his eyesight, to then only gain it back
Brittney Finck
Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky

Rapunzel is a story that has been retold in many ways and fashions yet Paul O. Zelinsky’s illustrations are one of a kind. The facial expression of the witch cutting Rapunzel’s hair is the perfect example of the emotion captured in these life-like illustrations. The characters are surprisingly human looking which adds to the wonderful story of a kidnapped girl. A common theme among all Rapunzel renditions is the tower. It is obvious that Paul O. Zelinsky realized this
Emily Hollander
Genre: Traditional Literature
Award: Caldecott medal
Grade Levels: K-2

In my classroom, I could use this story for an enjoyable story time for the students. It is a story that takes a young student into another world and allows them to dive into fantasies. This is also a story of good conquering evil, which is an important theme to young readers. A follow up activity could be instruct the students to draw a scene that represents good conquering evil. I could give them some examples from other stori
It was my first time reading this story and I thought it was a little weird. The sorceress was creepy for taking the baby which was Rapunzel away from a couple, also for making Rapunzel live in a tower. However, what I liked about this story was that the prince fell in love with Rapunzel just by listening to her. The illustration are wonderful, it reminds me of the renaissance. Also, I really liked how the prince and Rapunzel reunited and live happily ever after. Overall, even though I think the ...more
Emma Mcmurtrie
This story is about a couple that for so long was unable to have a child. But one spring she finds out she is pregnant. She would gaze out her window to the enclosed garden of Rapunzel. She craved it so much that she asked her husband to sneak into the garden and get some of the Rapunzel. He does so twice, the first time only increased his wife’s desire for the herb. The second time however, he is caught in the act by the sorceress who demands to have their new born child in exchange for his wif ...more
Howie Kahekili
Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky was the Caldecott winner in 1998. This version of the inspiring version of Rapunzel has a lot of great dynamics that other books may not. In Rapunzel the story starts off with a couple who is in want of having a baby. When the wife does get pregnant she is in need of Rapunzel because she is becoming ill, the husband fetches Rapunzel many times until he gets caught. The sorceress tells the man I will let you save your wife in return for your baby to come. When the bab ...more
Jordyn Oakland
This story has a very interesting twist; it is a mix of the folktale of Rapunzel but also the Grimm Brothers version. It is about a young couple expecting a child and a wife craving the herb Rapunzel but the husband is caught in the act and a sorceress demands their newborn baby. The story then takes on a more familiar version of a young girl trapped in a tower with extremely long, beautiful hair and a prince comes to save her. The illustration throughout the novel convey a very historical and r ...more
Ziwei Cheng
"Rapunzel" is about a couple because eating the lettuce neighbor witch, pregnancy gave birth to a little girl. Witch in order to punish them, and put their daughter away, into a tall tower, and named Rapunzel. Every witch up, should Rapunzel down long braids, she can climb. There once was a passing prince discovered the secret, the prince climb, fell in love with Rapunzel. Witch discover the secret, furious, the Rapunzel braids cut off and put her into the wilderness to fend for themselves. Prin ...more
Abby Ratliff
Rapunzel reamins true to its original story, but the illustrations in this book are gorgeous. Sometimes traditional literature can be boring, but the story did not ramble. It was all of the good parts with none of the fluff. This would make a wonderful read aloud or a writing workshop on fables. Also, the authors note from Paul O. Zelinsky is quite wonderful.

Genre- Traditional literature
Samuel Gilliam
The thing that immediately stood out to me was the fact that there were quite a few words on each page, and with further inspection I felt that they are too complicated for this age group. So because of that, I must say that Rapunzel should be in a higher age group than it is now. Even though it is advanced, I feel that it is perfectly placed within this genre, because this is a fairy tale/folk tale that has been around for years…making it perfect for this traditional literature genre. I would u ...more
Mitchell Wade
The story of Repunzel goes back far into history. I enjoyed reading the authors note in the back of the book which gave lots of details about how he pieced parts of the story together from previous editions of the original story. I think Mr. Zelinksy did a great job at picking the most moving aspects of each tale for his rendition of the classic. Plus, the illustrations were also very nicely done. The scenery and his attention to detail in the scenes must have taken a lot of time to get it right ...more
This traditional book offers classic and romantic art, along with a tale that so many have heard before. Its retelling, however, offers a fresh take on the story by describing Rapunzel's parents, husband, and children. For many, the story consists of a girl in a tower that is rescued by a prince. But the prince in this book goes blind and wanders for a year before finding his loved one again. They do live happily ever after, but the happiness comes after several almost insane plotlines. The baby ...more
Shelby Lynn
I think that this book is appropriate for elementary school children. Most of the words are easy and it is a common story because it is a fairy tale. It exposes the child to a picture book version of the fairy tale that doesn't include the disney pictures. I think that this is a good example of traditional literature. It is a fairy tale with a simple structure. I think that the story could be read aloud and retold by the child later. It can also be an independent reader for elementary school chi ...more
~Miss PeachBelle's Reviews~
I was drawn to this book specifically for the illustration. I enjoy victorian, renaissance, and regency style books and films so the illustration in Paul O.Zelinsky's version of Rapunzel drew me in immediately. I think it fits well as a traditional literature/ picture book. This is a beautiful rendition of the classic Grimm Tale of a girl who's kidnapped from her parents as an infant and is raised by her captor who keeps her locked away inside of a lonely tower. I've always found the language be ...more
Kathryn Anne Russell
Rapunzel is the story of a woman who becomes pregnant with her first child. She craves a plant that is in her neighbor’s garden, so her husband steals some but is caught by the witch who owns the plant. The witch takes away the baby girl when she is born and raised her in a tower in the woods. The witch climbs the tower with the girl’s (Rapunzel’s) hair. One day a prince hears Rapunzel singing and he climbs her hair. They fall in love without the witch knowing and secretly get married. Rapunzel ...more
This is the story of a husband and wife who so badly wanted to have a baby. Finally, they were pregnant and she craved the herb called Rapunzel from the garden behind their house which belonged to a sorcerer. The husband went to get more but the sorceress appeared before him and said that she would take the baby once she born. When the baby was born the sorcerer named her Rapunzel The child was beautiful and lived in a tower where the only way in was to climb her luscious locks of golden hair. F ...more
David Korsak
This story is about a mother and father who were trying to have a child and they have been trying for a long time, but then one day she becomes pregnant, what a miracle. She sees a bush of Rapunzel in the neighbor’s garden and craves it more and more everyday so the Husband would go and get it for her. Although the twist is that it was the sorceress’s garden and in exchange she got to receive the child that was born. The wife finally delivered her baby and the sorceress locked her in a tower. Th ...more
Kate Reilly
Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky is a very well written folklore book. Children will most likely already be familiar with the book by the time they are in school due to several of the different adaptions and movies circulating around today. The story is about a couple who is expecting a child. The wife has a craving for the rapunzel plant (which is an herb) and the husband steals rapunzel from a garden only to be caught in the act by the sorceress. As a result, the couple has to give their child to ...more
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Born 1953

Paul O. Zelinsky grew up in Wilmette, Illinois, the son of a mathematics professor and a medical illustrator. He drew compulsively from an early age, but did not know until college that this would be his career. As a Sophomore in Yale College he enrolled in a course on the history and practice of the picture book, co-taught by an English professor and Maurice Sendak. This experience inspi
More about Paul O. Zelinsky...

Other Books in the Series

Classic Tales for the Cellphone Generation (3 books)
  • The Wolf and the Lamb [Chatspeak Translation]
  • The Bat and the Weasels [Chatspeak Translation]
Rumpelstiltskin The Wheels on the Bus Hansel and Gretel Knick Knack Paddywhack (New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books (Awards)) The Maid And The Mouse And The Odd Shaped House:  A Story In Rhyme (A Puffin Unicorn)

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