Cover image for Rapunzel
Zelinsky, Paul O.
Personal Author:
Physical Description:
1 audiocassette : analog + 1 book ((unpaged) : color illustrations ; 31 cm)
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.
General Note:
"Read-Along Cassette."

Accompainied by book of same title: Retold and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky. New York : Dutton, c1997.

Side 1 includes page-turn signals; side 2 has uninterupted reading.
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Format :
Sound Cassette

Sound Recording


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8.Z38 RAP 1998 BK Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



For use in schools and libraries only. 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.

Author Notes

Paul O. Zelinsky Paul O. Zelinsky was born in Evanston, Illinois and grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. He received his B. A. from Yale and his M. F. A. from the Tyler School of Art, and from there went on to become an award winning illustrator.

Zelinsky is the illustrator of three Caldecott Honor books, including "Hansel and Gretel" published in 1985, "Rumpelstiltskin" in 1987, and "Swamp Angel" by Anne Isaacs in 1995. He is the adapter and illustrator of "The Maid and the Mouse and the Odd-shaped House," "The Lion and the Stoat," "The Wheels on the Bus," and the illustrator of a trio of books by Beverly Cleary. In 2015 he illustrated the New Zealand Best Seller Circle, Square, Moose.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-5, younger for reading aloud. After his wildly exuberant illustrations for Anne Isaacs' tall tale Swamp Angel (1994), Zelinsky turns to the formal beauty of Italian Renaissance art as the setting for his glowingly illustrated version of an age-old story. And, like Donna Jo Napoli's YA novel Zel (1996), this story is as much about the fierce love of mother for child as it is about the romantic passion between the imprisoned Rapunzel and the prince. Drawing on the Grimms' and earlier versions of the tale, Zelinsky begins with a childless couple, who are thrilled when the wife finally becomes pregnant. She develops a craving for the herb rapunzel, and when her husband is caught stealing it for her, the sorceress makes a terrifying bargain: if she can have the baby, she will allow the wife to live. The stepmother raises Rapunzel, "seeing to her every need," then locks her in a tower away from the world. Only the sorceress can enter the tower, by climbing Rapunzel's flowing hair. Then one day, the prince hears Rapunzel sing, falls in love with her, and learns to climb into the castle. They marry secretly. When Rapunzel becomes pregnant, the furious sorceress drives Rapunzel out, cuts off her hair, and blinds the prince. The lovers wander separately in the wilderness, where Rapunzel gives birth to twins; then the couple find each other, her tears make him see, and they come home to the prince's court. The rich oil paintings evoke the portraits, sculpture, architecture, and light-filled landscapes of Renaissance art. The costumes are lavish, the interiors intricate. Rapunzel is both gorgeous and maidenly. The sorceress is terrifying: the pictures also reveal her motherliness and her vulnerability, especially in the two double-page narrative paintings that frame the drama. One shows the sorceress taking the baby--and we see how she lovingly cradles it in her arms; in the climactic painting, when Rapunzel, the prince, and their children find each other, the whole natural world of rock and sky and tree seem to close around them in a loving embrace. Children--and adults--will pore over the intricate detail and glowing colors; they will also be moved by the mysterious tale of nurture and passion and terror. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Zelinsky (Swamp Angel) does a star turn with this breathtaking interpretation of a favorite fairy tale. Daringly‘and effectively‘mimicking the masters of Italian Renaissance painting, he creates a primarily Tuscan setting. His Rapunzel, for example, seems a relative of Botticelli's immortal red-haired beauties, while her tower appears an only partially fantastic exaggeration of a Florentine bell tower. For the most part, his bold experiment brilliantly succeeds: the almost otherworldly golden light with which he bathes his paintings has the effect of consecrating them, elevating them to a grandeur befitting their adoptive art-historical roots. If at times his compositions and their references to specific works seem a bit self-conscious, these cavils are easily outweighed by his overall achievement. The text, like the art, has a rare complexity, treating Rapunzel's imprisonment as her sorceress-adopted mother's attempt to preserve her from the effects of an awakening sexuality. Again like the art, this strategy may resonate best with mature readers. Young children may be at a loss, for example, when faced with the typically well-wrought but elliptical passage in which the sorceress discovers Rapunzel's liaisons with the prince when the girl asks for help fastening her dress (as her true mother did at the story's start): " `It is growing so tight around my waist, it doesn't want to fit me anymore.' Instantly the sorceress understood what Rapunzel did not." On the other hand, with his sophisticated treatment, Zelinsky demonstrates a point established in his unusually complete source notes: that timeless tales like Rapunzel belong to adults as well as children. Ages 5-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3‘In a lengthy note, Zelinsky explains his research into the pre-Grimm Brothers' origins of "Rapunzel" in French and Italian tales, but his retelling does not vary significantly from other picture-book renditions. However, his version does not sidestep the love between the maiden in the tower and the prince, as some retellers have done. The lovers hold a ceremony of marriage between themselves, and it is Rapunzel's signs of pregnancy that bring about her banishment from the tower and her prince's downfall. What sets this Rapunzel apart from the others is the magnificence of the Renaissance setting. Readers will linger over the opulence and rich details of furnishings and fabrics, and admire the decorative patterns and architectural details of the tower and the rooms. Echoes of high Renaissance art can be seen in the costumes, the buildings, and the landscapes. In their postures and gestures, the richly dressed characters might have stepped out of the paintings of Botticelli and Mantegna and Verrocchio and Raphael. But in Zelinsky's scenes there are no angels, no holy figures, no miracles‘only magic. The impossibly high, almost pencil-thin tower looms above the trees. Rapunzel's hair, cascading some 50 feet to the ground, would daunt the sturdiest climbers unless they were a sorceress or a young man in love. Each scene, from the delightful Italianate farm pictured on the endpapers to the last happy scene where the prince and his bride pose with their cherub-like twins, is painted, writes Zelinsky, as a humble attempt to "spur an interest in the magnificent art from which I have drawn." A stunning effort.‘Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Award winning author/adapter/illustrator Paul O. Zelinsky's Caldecott Medal Winning book! Perfect for readers of all fairy tales. "A breathtaking interpretation gives the fairy tale new art-historical roots, with illustrations that daringly-and effectively-mimic the masters of Italian Renaissance painting."-- Publishers Weekly Trapped in a tower with no door, Rapunzel is allowed to see no one but the sorceress who has imprisoned her-until the day a young prince hears her singing to the forest birds. . . . The timeless tale of Rapunzel is vividly and magnificently brought to life through Paul O. Zelinsky's powerful sense of narrative and his stunning oil paintings. "Simply put, this is a gorgeous book; it demonstrates respect for the traditions of painting and the fairy tale while at the same time adhering to a singular, wholly original, artistic vision." ( The Horn Book , starred review) Excerpted from Rapunzel by Wilhelm K. Grimm, Jacob Grimm All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.