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BOOK REVIEW: Rapunzel Stories Around the World by Cari Meister

| 8 February 2015 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Rapunzel Stories Around the World by Cari Meister  

Picture Window Books
February 2015
Hardcover, $16.95
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell




What is a Fairy Tale?

Once upon a time, before the age of books, people gathered to tell stories. They told tales of fairies and magic, princes and witches. Ideas of love, jealousy, kindness, and luck filled the stories. Some provided lessons. Others just entertained. Most did both! These fairy tales passed from neighbor to neighbor, village to village, land to land. As the stories spun across the seas and over mountains, details changed to fit each culture. A poisoned slipper became a poisoned ring. A king became a sultan. A wolf became a tiger.

Over time, fairy tales were collected and written down. Around the world today, people of all ages love to read or hear these timeless stories. For many years to come, fair tales will continue to live happily ever after in our imaginations. 


These books are a great addition to the library of any collector of fairy tales, anyone who has ever enjoyed remakes of the old classic, and are a fantastic introduction for anyone who doesn’t know the stories already.


In this collection of Rapunzel tales from around the world, we are offered the classic German version of the tale we all know and love, as well as the Filipino and Italian versions.

It’s interesting to see what changes happen from story to story:

– There’s the one in which a man and woman desperately want a baby, but are having no luck. One day, the woman insists that her husband steal rapunzel from the garden of the sorceress next door, and when he is caught, the woman makes him promise his first born child in exchange for the herb.

– The one in which a magician is deeply in love with the king’s daughter, Clotilde. When she doesn’t return his affections, he locks her in a tower with three magical horses and two magical necklaces before he dies, bitter and alone.

– And the one in which a woman sees parsley in her ogress neighbor’s garden and steals some, day after day. In return for this, the ogress steals her daughter, Parsley, when she is seven years old and locks her in a tower.


Unfortunately, in this collection, the middle story had some major plot holes, like when a man builds a ladder and climbs the tower, only be trapped there when his jealous brother destroys the ladder, Clotilde gives him a magical flying horse so he can get down from the tower… Which begs the question, why did she not just fly out of the tower, herself?


The different styles of illustration from story to story are just as interesting as the differences in the stories themselves. While there is a glossary at the back of each collection, this does mean this collection will likely have to be read to the younger readers, but could also help with increasing their vocabulary. There are also questions at the end, to encourage readers to really think about the tale, and information on some other Rapunzel stories for further reading.

Next time you’re after a book about Rapunzel for book week, as a gift, or just wanting to brush up on your fairy tales, definitely give this one a go. 

This collection of only three stories felt slightly less rushed, what with the additional room for each story, but I can’t help but feel a little more room might have helped to clear up plot holes. 

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

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