cover image Rapunzel


The Brothers Grimm, illus. by Debbie Lavreys, Clavis (IPG, dist.), $16.95 (28p) ISBN 978-1-60537-074-3

The high point of this otherwise sluggish addition to the Classic Fairy Tales series is Lavreys's spare, subtly textured folk art. Her sunlit paintings use recurring celestial motifs: the night sky, the witch's cap, and Rapunzel's tower are all adorned with stars; Rapunzel's skirt features crescent moons; and a smiling sun looks on in several scenes (when the witch climbs up Rapunzel's hair, the sun's quizzical expression seems to say, "Really?"). Translated from the Dutch by the publisher, the narrative is somewhat dense and wooden, never doing much more than relating plot points. Describing the heroine's reaction to the prince, it reads, "She thought he was not only very handsome and brave, but also very sweet. That's why she gladly agreed when he proposed marriage to her." Lavreys's artwork brightens the story's dark moments—neither the witch nor the prince's fall from the tower are even slightly frightening, sapping much of the dramatic tension from the story—so Rapunzel's reunion with the prince and the "happily ever after" ending are never in question. Ages 3–5. (Oct.)