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3.80  ·  Rating details ·  417 ratings  ·  112 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 f ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 16th 2008 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  417 ratings  ·  112 reviews

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Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: classic fairytales
This seems to be a faithful retelling of the original Rapunzel, only the setting was changed to what appears to be Africa and the characters are people of color. I think the artwork is beautiful and I simply love all the colors used in the book. It all works well and it's great to see these classic characters in new ways and lights to get a new insight here or there.

The Brothers Grimm had the correct names. This is a grim story. The sorceress is evil and she makes life miserable for people. I ne
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
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 artw ...more
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
May 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lisa (not getting friends updates) by: Kathryn
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
3.5 out of 5
I love the colors! And a prince on a zebra, haha :)))
Meredith B
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: traditional-lit
This was my first time reading this version of Rapunzel, written and illustrated by Caldecott Award winner Rachel Isador. This book caught my eye while searching for different versions on Google and I found a video read-aloud version on Youtube. The quality of the video was not the best, but I was able to see the illustrations and text clearly and understand the reader.

When glancing at the cover, the illustrations immediately reminded me of Eric Carle's work, with bright colors and texture. The
Maria Ong
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such a cute retelling story of Rapunzel! I enjoy reading is so much! It was dark/light type of story.
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
Nov 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Apr 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing

Well. One simple swap out and the text takes on some heavy issues. Hair is an area already fraught with culture, politics, gender norms, class issues, and money. Throw in ethnicity and it becomes even more of a fray.

Isadora places the Rapunzel tale in Africa and so the tower-length hair is much different then you usually see. Beautiful illustrations show how flexible the story is and suggest that there is no reason a girl in a fairy tale must be blonde.
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. ...more
Jennifer Worrell
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I didn't quite remember this version of Rapunzel so I liked reading one I'm not familiar with. LOVED the illustrations; I haven't seen anything quite like this style. ...more
Oct 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
the art style was what drew me to the book, and that was seemingly the only interesting thing about the story. the author didn't change much from the orginal source material except for the characters being poc. so points for representation but no points for substance. ...more
Mar 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
Kids want to give this book 5 stars based on their enthusiasm levels. Both boys and girls wanted to check this book out. But I really hate this book. Changing a sexist story from Euro-centric to African-centric in terms of the protagonists doesn't make the story better. The story is still about parents surrendering their child in a dirty deal. It's still about kidnapping. It's still about "love at first sight" - a trope that reads as more stalkerish and rapey rather than realistic love. The rewa ...more
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lots of Kids books gonna be on this feed in the next few years since I'm Daddin' hard so be warned.

So the missus was saying that she wished this one was not just updated by the African locale, but also updated in terms of current social norms. I totally agree with her, but I also think that if we're going to update Grimm fairy tales it's almost more subversive to actually dig into the original texts, which can be very intentionally nasty, and very unintentionally retrograde to our current way of
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
I like Rachel Isadora's books but this one didn't feel quite right. The illustrations are beautiful, I love the dreads, the culture jumping off the pages. What concerns me is a fairy tale not original to the culture in which it is presenting; rewriting the story to fit an African perspective, and changing the evil witch to an evil sorcerer. So I ask, how is "sorcery" viewed in the culture that is depicted on the pages? Sorcery is the use of magic (usually black). How do you define magic in an Af ...more
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Isadora stays true to the classic version of the tale of Rapunzel but changes the setting to take place in Africa which heavily influences the style of art in this book. It was wonderful to see more children's books that not only had protagonists as people of color but also included other cultures. The artwork is very distinct, appearing to be a collage out of different textures of paper. It's no wonder that this book was awarded the Caldecott medal. I think many ages would enjoy this book wheth ...more
Faith Tydings
Sep 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-school
Based on the classic fairytale, Rapunzel, this version takes a darker approach with the same archetypical characters and plot. With a few twists, like the prince riding a zebra, you will find creative and lively illustrations with fun characters and a classic feel. However, what really makes this book stand out and add to the story is the art style that is beautifully done in beautiful African style and is the highlight of this picture book.
Sierra Wishard
Dec 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: t-l-307
Copyright: 2008

Genre: Traditional Literature

Comment: The original tale of Rapunzel in an African setting. This book tells the tale but the differences is the culture aspect. The beautiful illustrations of the culture and setting is amazing. I enjoyed this story over the original tale.

Used: Great children's book to use to use as a Compare and Contrast assignment using a Venn Diagram. I would have students compare and contrast the American Rapunzel to the African Rapunzel.
This doesn't sit well with me, being such a dark, dark story adapted for a very young group of readers. I feel that if I read this during story time, we'd have to spend time on every page dissecting things like, why would the mother die for not getting a thing she just 'wants,' why is Rapunzel's only value her beauty and song, why did they get married as soon as they met, etc etc etc. ...more
Margaret Boling
2/15/2019 ~ A fairly straightforward retelling of the classic European Brothers Grimm tale. However, the setting and characters are African. Isadora's cut paper collage illustrations are stunning and vivid. ...more
Valerie Fatura
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This traditional literature book would be good to use with grades K-3. One unique feature of the book is the setting because the story takes place in an African setting. This offers a different viewpoint to the story of Rapunzel.
Aug 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 0-picture-books
A classic retelling of the traditional Brothers Grimm tale, but set in Africa. The storytelling isn't super innovative or compelling, which in this case isn't necessarily a bad thing. The illustrations are beautiful and I love that Rapunzel's long hair is styled in dreadlocks. ...more
Annie Payne
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This adaptation of the classic fairy tale was very interesting! I would read it again!
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love this Rapunzel! And it is just the right length to read to a Rapunzel-obsessed 3 year old - all the other versions were freakishly long. Thanks to my children's staff for the recommendation. ...more
Oct 21, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marlisa Leechelle
Sep 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: child-lit
Grade Level 1-3
Rapunzel is an well known fairy tale but in this adaption the plot twist has an dark turn and it's resolution has an deus ex machina or just fate complex. The book is written in third person and the illustration shows more of the emotions. I think the story didn't show the characters personalities but we can witness the struggle and their motives. It's like an outline that could be filled in with a thrilling personal adventure . I don't think it has any character development.
Sarah Capettini
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a picture fairytale book by Rachel Isadora. This book is intended for 3 and up.

The book recounts the everlasting tale of Rapunzel and her prince but set in an African village. Rapunzel is locked away in a tower, secretly meeting her prince until she falls pregnant. Then the sorceress who locked her away throws Rapunzel out the tower after cutting her hair and therefore sends the prince into a deep depression.

I find this is a picture book comparable to Hungry Caterpillar or Rainbow Fish.
Jennifer Yawson
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rapunzel retold by Rachel Isadora is a children's fairy tale that was published in 2008
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 frightening sorceress, and chime in with the familiar line "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,"
Stunning colorful artwork in this Rapunzel retelling using Africa for the setting. The artist uses collages of painted, textured paper and the technique reminds me of Eric Carle. I’m going to seek out Rachel Isadora’s other work. Very impressive! You should read this especially if you are tired of the same old blonde, golden haired heroines of typical fairy tales.
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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

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