Rapunzel (Caldecott Medal Book)

by Brothers Grimm

Hardcover, 1997



Local notes

398.2 Gri




Dutton Juvenile (1997), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 48 pages


A retelling of a folktale in which a beautiful girl with long golden hair is kept imprisoned in a lonely tower by a sorceress. Includes a note on the origins of the story.

Original publication date


Physical description

48 p.; 12.38 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member ncgraham
"Rapunzel" is one of my favorite fairy tales. Its themes of love, obsession, betrayal, and the healing power of compassion are both timeless and compelling. Paul O. Zelinsky's picture book is probably the best version I know, and though it came out when I was only seven, I can still remember the
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excitement surrounding its release and the subsequent announcement that it had won the Caldecott. At that age I was surprised to find that the heroine lived not in a gray, run-down tower the middle of a scary Germanic wood but a luxurious one, with a more Italianate setting; Zelinsky, however, has good reasons for these changes, as I will demonstrate later.

The illustrations, of course, are of primary interest. These oil paintings are sumptuous, and seem to present a higher, more romanticized form of reality, not dissimilar to those of Zelinsky's Renaissance era predecessors. As another reviewer mentioned, the attention to detail is astounding—I spent one whole reading just noting where the witch's cat showed up.

But this book is important from a textual standpoint as well. In his afterword, Zelinsky traces the history of the tale, outlining the various forms it took before the Brothers Grimm heard it, as well as the changes they made to it. This makes for fascinating reading, and the research enhances his retelling. Since the first appearance of the Rapunzel myth was in Italy, he incorporates many regional features in his illustrations; he also restores elements from the pre-Grimm versions, such as the marriage ceremony in the tower. I for one had never seen the inclusion of a window-hook before reading this—a fascinating solution to the age-old hair vs. physics problem!

Highly recommended to both fairy tale enthusiasts and those simply looking for a beautiful, well-written picture book.
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LibraryThing member the_hag
I think most are familiar with the details of this particular story...wife gets pregnant after the couple thinks they will never have children, wife craves rapunzel, husband steals it (successfully once, but not so the second time around), old hag catches him and takes the newborn child as
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punishment for his stealing, she becomes Rapunzel, the maiden locked in a tower with no entrance who falls in love with a prince and well, well all know the rest. What is different here is that the hag is portrayed as a sorceress not a witch and is given a motherly spin...her motives are to protect and nurture the maiden. I found this to be an interesting twist.

Zelinsky also doesn't pull any punches when it comes to Rapunzel getting pregnant...but the prince has married her already (how very proper of him). I thought the casting of the prince from the tower was a bit tame...there are no thorns to gouge out his eyes in this version...a simple fall and it's never really clear how he loses his sight, I think we are meant to surmise head trauma here, rather than anything more gruesome than that. Typically after wandering the lovers are reunited and go off to the prince's castle to live happily ever after. There is no further dealing with the sorceress or the girl's real parents...but overall this doesn't really detract from the story.

This is our first experience with author Paul Zelinsky and I must say that the Girl is smitten with the art and story here. She must have read it five times before we took it back to the library (we had it about a week). I also found the art to be wonderfully detailed and rich and the story was quite well done, probably closest to the Grimm's version than any I have seen in a long time, which is probably why we enjoyed it so much. This makes a fine bedtime tale, I'd recommend it even for younger children I think people often underestimate their appreciation for these somewhat gruesome tales. Both my chidren and I enjoy those that have the gruesome twists more than the sanitized versions...I'm definitely considering adding this to my collection of fairy tale picture books! I give it a solid A!
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LibraryThing member arielaver
There is something almost haunting about this book. The illustrations are so detailed and so engaging that it's difficult to read aloud because, like the children, I just want to sit and look at it. Zelinsky did a great job of telling his story as much through his pictures as his words--if not more
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LibraryThing member susanmartling
Beautifully illustrated in the Italian Renaissance style--great art reference. Notes at the back of the book are very informative about the creation and evolution of this story. This is a good example of a fairy tale.
LibraryThing member kmcgiverin05
This is a fairy tale, and I know this because it has magic, a moral lesson and a protagonist. The protagonist is Rapunzel and in the end she wins. I think this can be used in the classroom to talk about fairy tales, and magic in books. Rapunzel is the protagonist and we know that her whole life was
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pretty sad, until she was saved via her long hair.
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LibraryThing member missmichelle
Age Appropriateness: Primary
Genre: This book is a good example of a fairy tale because it is a classic tale about a princess in need of rescue from a tall tower. There is one main out of the ordinary happening to this book that helps the classify it as a fairy tale, which is the fact that people
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can climb up Rupunzel's hair as if it was a rope. There is as a main protagonist in the story, the princess, who ends up winning against the evil sorceress.
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LibraryThing member cltnae
I really enjoyed this story, because it went more indepth to how Rapunzel ended up in the tower and why the witch cut her hair off. The traditional version of this book is different from the modern version because the modern version has some information cut out. For example; how Rapunzel ended up
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with the witch, how the witch raised her from birth, and how she became pregnent. I thought that this book was a little different from todays' more modern version of Rapunzel. I enjoyed this version more because it gave more information and more background on Rapunzel and her Prince.

Summary: Rapunzel (Caldecott Medal Book) by Brothers Grimm (1997) This story revolves around a young woman who was locked in a tower by a witch. Her hair grew so long that the only way into the tower was to climb her hair up to the window of her room. One day a prince hears her singing and tries to find a way inside. He watches the tower and sees the witch call to Rapunzel to let down her hair. After the witch left the prince did the same and climbed the way up to Rapunzels' room. They soon were married in secret and Rapunzel became pregnent. The witch banished her and cut her long hair off. The prince was tricked and fell from the tower and hurt his eyes. A year went by and he heard Rapunzel singing again and followed her voice. When they saw each other they embraced and two of Rapunzels' tears landed on the princes eyes and he could see his wife and twins.

Summary: After the witch left the prince did the same and climbed the way up to Rapunzels' room. They soon were married in secret and Rapunzel became pregnent. The witch banished her and cut her long hair off. The prince was tricked and fell from the tower and hurt his eyes. A year went by and he heard Rapunzel singing again and followed her voice. When they saw each other they embraced and two of Rapunzels' tears landed on the princes eyes and he could see his wife and twins.

Classroom Extensions:
1) I would read a more modern version of the book and make sure that my students payed attention to the order of the book. After I read the book we would play a sequence game so that the students could retell the story.
2) I would have my students write a summary of what the liked about the book and why.
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LibraryThing member rjmcwhorter1
A must read. The illustrations are a beautiful supplement for the well known fairy tale, and children of all elementary ages will enjoy seeing them.
LibraryThing member ccondra
A good book to read when learning about fairy tales or the Brothers Grimm. Have the studnets write their own fairy tale.
LibraryThing member jrozean0128
Rapunzel is the story of a girl who is kept in a tower by a sorceress. Rapunzel eventually falls in love with a young prince whom she allows into the tower by letting down her long hair which the princes climbs. The sorceress objects to this love affair and cuts off Rapunzel’s hair and sends her
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into exile. Eventually the two lovers reunited are married and have twin children and live happily ever after.

Rapunzel is the traditional story that most of us have heard before. Zelinsky, in the afterword, claims to have incorporated pre-Grimm versions of this tale into his version. Zelinsky’s book proves itself unique with its brilliant oil paintings that are incredible catching to the eye.

One thing I learned from this book is what rampion is, which Zelinsky simply refers to as rapunzel. Rampion is the plant which Rapunzel’s mother desires so that it eventually causes the mother to give up her child to the sorceress. It would prove to be an interesting scientific report on rampion – where it is grown an other characteristics of the plant. Another lesson I would have using this story is believability. What aspects of this story make it unbelievable? – the sorceress, the princes blindness, etc …
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LibraryThing member adrianneosmus
Rapunzel is a story about a woman who tried for years to have a child and never could. She finally gets pregnant and she craves to eat from a neighbor's garden. Her husband makes a deal with the owner of the garden that his wife can eat from the garden but he must give her the child when it is
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born. The child grows up into a young woman and her stepmother locks her in a tower. When her stepmother finds out she is pregnant she cast her into the wilderness. Soon after that she gives birth to twins. After years apart, her prince stumbles into the wilderness and finds his family. He takes his family back to his kingdom and they live happily ever after.

I used to read this story when I was little. I always wanted to have long hair that my mom could climb up my hair. This is a prime explain of love and family.

You could talk about families with this story. You could also talk about the different things you can make from a garden. Another thing you could use in the classroom kingdoms and the wilderness.
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LibraryThing member tiburon
Grimnm's fairytale about a girl locked in a tower by a sorceress who eventually falls in love with, who else? a prince, and both suffer tremendously for it. There is, however, a happy ending.
LibraryThing member elle0467
This book is a traditional fairy tale story of a young girl Rapunzel who was taken from her parents from an evil witch. When Rapunzel was around 12 the witch locked her in the castle tower. Rapunzel's hair grew so long that it was able to help her escape the tower and fall into the arms of her true
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LibraryThing member kacu04
A man and wife wished for a child and was going to have one. The woman long wished for rampion from a witches garden across a big wall. Her husband went to get it for her and got caught by the witch the second time. The man told her if his wife did not get the rampion she would die so the witch
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made a trade for his wife to have all the rampion she needed if she got the child when it was born. The husband agreed and when the baby was born she named her Rapunzel. When Rapunzel was 12 the witch locked her in a tower until one day a man heard her singing and asked to marry her. The witch found out and tried to stop this but after awhile they found each other again and had babies.

This is a good story with a lot of imagination. The relationships between man and woman in this story show a lot of sacrafice. This story is not too long and I think children would like and mostly little girls.

This book would be good for just an everyday story or if your doing books that are considered fairy tales or traditional stories. This book would also be good to have in a group of books that have to do with witches or around halloween time.
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LibraryThing member barnes08
This story has been told in varieties of ways and in many different countries. The book has beautiful picture. The husband and wife took Rapunzel from the sorceress garden; therefore, they had to give their daughter to the sorceress. The girl then grew up and her hair became very long. The
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sorceress put Rapunzel which is the girls name in a tower. When the sorceress wished to see Rapunzel, the sorceress had Rapunzel put down her hair. A prince heard Rapunzel’s voice and had her drop down her hair. The prince and Rapunzel fell in love, when the sorceress found out she banished Rapunzel. The prince went looking for Rapunzel and they lived happily ever after.

I felt sad when the baby was taken away. The book was overall was very well told. I loved the setting it seemed to be an older time line. The book has a happy ending, which is always good.

You can talk about the consequences of eating the Rapunzel. Also talk about the time setting. Discuss Rapunzel hair the important part of the story. The teacher could research the story from other countries and discuss the names they used for Rapunzel, maybe even read the book and compare story lines.
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LibraryThing member meallen1
This book is a fantasy book. The art is done with pastels. The book is the story of Repunzel . The reading level is third grade, but it would be a great book to read to any age group. The curricular connection is reading, your can use this book when teaching the class about fairly tales.
LibraryThing member Jessica24
This book i about a husband and a wife who wait for a child. When they finally get a child, they give her to a sorceress. The sorcoress locks her in a tower. A prince ends up finding her by her beautiful voice and climbs up her hair to get to her. They live happily ever after in the end.

I enjoyed
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this story mostly because of the illustrations. I also enjoyed this story because as a child I have always liked good vs evil stories.

In the classroom, I would make a chart to see how long everybody's hair was. I would also make a reading unit on books with good vs. evil and ask them to identify which is which
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LibraryThing member rachaelmcdonald
This is a classic story of a pregnant woman who could not help but eat a herb called rapunzel, she said she would die if she didn’t eat it immediately . The problem was that the rapunzel was growing in an evil sorcerer’s garden. The husband of the pregnant woman did not want her to die and
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wanted to satisfy his wife’s desire, he crept into the sorcerers garden to take the rapunzel. The sorcerer caught him and told him the only way he could have the herb is to promise her his unborn child. The husband reluctantly obliged, and when the baby was born the sorcerer took the baby, named after the herb, Rapunzel to a luxurious tower in the middle of nowhere. The Sorcerer was the only one who could enter, she would do this by, telling Rapunzel to let down her hair. The Sorcerer would then climb up the hair into the tower. One day a prince heard Rapunzel singing and fell in love. The sorcerer was not happy about this, but the prince being the brave man he was found his way into the tower by climbing up her long hair and he and Rapunzel live happily ever after.

Rapunzel was one of my favorite stories as a child. If is a wonderful , story filled with fantasy. I look forward to reading this story to my children and passing down this traditional fantasy book like my mother and grandmother did with me and my sister. I was always fascinated with Rapunzel’s long hair and wanted to grow mine just as long as her.

In a classroom environment it would be fun for children to make Rapunzel dolls with long hair made out of yarn. A great class discussion would be to talk about how the children would furnish and design their own towers. This is also a great story to introduce other traditional fantasy books and stories.
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LibraryThing member AStall
This story starts out with a husband and wife expecting a child, Rapunzel. The husband steals from a sorcerer, who demands that his child come live with her. The sorcerer locks Rapunzel away when she's twelve. The only visitor Rapunzel has is the sorcerer until one day when a prince comes. They
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fall in love and expect a child. The sorcerer banishes Rapunzel and causes harm to the prince. But the two find each other in the end and all live happily ever after.

I love the story and the illustrations are beautiful. I love happy endings where everything works out. The plot is well developed and it varies slightly from other versions of Rapunzel that I have heard. I think of Cinderella and all the other fairytales where the poor soon-to-be princesses are locked away/treated poorly.

There are a great number of ways to extend this in a classroom. My favorite idea is to have the children act Rapunzel out in small groups however they would like. Another thing to do, depending where you teach, is to read about Biblical characters/literary characters who find strength in their hair.
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LibraryThing member mixona
This book tells the tale of Rapunzel, a story well known to many. Rapunzel is a girl who was taken by a sorceress as a baby. The sorceress takes care of Rapunzel until she is 12 then Rapunzel is locked in a high tower with no exit and only one window. Each day the sorceress calls "Rapunzel,
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Rapunzel, Let down your long hair." and when Rapunzel does, the sorceress uses the long braid as a rope and climbs up the tower. Eventually, a young Prince sees the sorceress doing this and does the same. Soon he and Rapunzel fall in love, but the sorceress finds out, takes Rapunzel away and blinds the Prince. The Prince stumbles through the country side and hears Rapunzel's beautiful voice. Finally, they meet again and Rapunzel's tears fall into the Prince's eyes healing him. Rapunzel and the Prince live happily ever after.

First of all, I'd like to say there is no question as to why this book won the Caldecott Medal Award. The illustrations are beautifully done in the style of the Italian Renaissance. It is also really neat to watch the kitten and Rapunzel age through out the pages. While this tale is a classic, I had never heard the story told quite like this. Rapunzel's biological father trades her for some herbs growing in a garden to keep his wife alive. The reason the sorceress removes Rapunzel from the tower is because she becomes pregnant with twins. This particular telling of a classic tale is now my favorite. I'm definitely going to add this to my collection.

One way you could extend this book's use in the classroom would be to discuss the Italian Renaissance and use the illustrations as examples of the art that came out of that era. As another project, we could discuss and try to determine just how long and thick Rapunzel’s hair would have to be so that the sorceress and the Prince could use it to climb up the tower.
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LibraryThing member malinacoulter
A man and women gave birth to a little girl who was promised to a sorceress. The sorceress took the girl to live in a tower in the woods. Each day the girl would lower her hair down in order for the sorceress to climb up.

This is a fairy tale that has been retold for years. I think that this book
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maybe a little hard for younger children to follow since there is so much going on. Although the Illustrations of this book are amazing.

In the classroom I would like the children to tell their own version of Rapunzel and how she got away from the evil sorceress. I would also like for them to make a drawing of their favorite part of the story.
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LibraryThing member JessicaGuiducci
Age Appropriateness: Primary
Genre: Traditional Literature (Fairytale)
Media: Oil Painting
This book is a beautiful rendition of a fairytale. The story begins with "Long ago...". The story of Rapunzel is rooted in oral tradition and has changed over the years from its original French version.
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The plot changed in a few areas of the story, such as what leafy greens Rapunzel's mother craved when she was pregnant, and also how Rapunzel and the prince escaped and were married. In this particular version, the mother craves the plant called rapunzel, and because her husband gets it for her from the witch's garden Rapunzel is promised to the witch.

Setting Analysis: The plot is essential in this particular story because Rapunzel must be in a tower to let the storyline around her hair carry out. The prince must climb her hair to reach her in the castle. The second setting however, the desert, serves as a backdrop.
The author has set the story in Renaissance era, which is enhanced by the illustrations on each page, and is not specifically mentioned in the story itself, but this setting is in the backdrop as well because the story could take place during any time period.
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LibraryThing member kperk12
This is a fairytale type book about a princess who was locked up in a tower by an evil sorceress only to be found by a prince one day. He secretely visited and married her then she was found to be expecting by the evil sorceress and banished into the wilderness. The prince was caught and then fell
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to the ground out of the tower. He was blinded and wandered around aimlessly until he ran into Rapunzel and the babies in the desert. His sight was restored and they lived happily ever after.
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LibraryThing member kpalmer07
In the story of Rapunzel a woman becomes pregnant and craves the plant Rapunzel. Her husband steals it from a sorceresses garden and is caught and forced to give up their child in exchange for the plant. The woman then takes the child, names her Rapunzel, and locks her in a tall tower with no door
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in the middle of the forest. The only way up is by climbing Rupunzels hair. A prince hears Rapunzel singing, falls in love, climbs her hair, she falls in love back, and the get married. The prince visits her by night while the sorceress visits her by day until one day the sorceress figures it out because Rapunzel gets pregnant. Rapunzel is banished to a deserted land with her twins. The prince is caught, falls from the tower and is blinded. Lonely and sad about his wife being gone, he wonders the forest aimlessly until he ends up coming upon Rapunzel. Rapunzels tears heal his eyes, then he figures out where they are, and they head back to his kingdom and live happily ever after.

Media: Acrylic paint
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LibraryThing member linnaea44
Wonderful retelling of the classic Rapunzel. The illustrations were amazing, very beautiful art. I almost felt like I was looking at an art exhibit instead of a children's book. The colors were magnificent. I think this would be great for all classrooms and art projects. The moral of the story
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hadn't changed, even if placed in a high tower and the the love of your life injured, love will prevail and all will be well.
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