Bell, Anthea. 1997. Rapunzel/A Fairy Tale by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm.
by Maja Dusikova. New York: North-South
a traditional folktale retold by Anthea Bell. There was a poor woman and a man
who wanted a child. While she was pregnant, she craved the rampion or rapunzel
growing in the garden next door so much that she was dying for it. A witch owned
the garden. One night the woman's husband stole into the garden and picked some
for her. The witch catches him and makes him promise to give his child. The
witch is the archetypical evil character while the woman and man are just stock characters to tell the story.
The witch takes
the baby and when the baby is twelve years old she shuts her in a tower that has no stairs or door. When the witch wants to see Rapunzel she would call, Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair and she would
climb the braid of hair. There is repetition in the story when the witch asks Rapunzel to let down her hair in this
part of the story.
This went on
for many years until one day a prince was riding near the tower and heard Rapunzel singing. He came back every day. One day he heard and saw the witch so he decided to try it. They
fall in love and he proposes. The witch finds out about the prince and takes Rapunzel
to live alone in the deserted part of the forest. The witch waits for the prince
and then tells him he will not see Rapunzel ever again. He jumps from the tower
and falls into some thorn bushes and the thorns damage his eyes. He wanders around
for years until one day he hears Rapunzel's voice. He hurries in the direction
of her voice. She sees him, hugs him, and cries.
Her tears fall upon his eyes and his sight is restored. They live happily
watercolor illustration provides details to the text, the setting, and the characters. The tower is not described in the story
but the illustrations fulfill the details that the text omits. This story has many of the elements of traditional fantasy. The characters are the good sweet girl, the evil witch, and the noble prince. Time passes quickly. Events that happened
in the years from baby to the age of twelve are not mentioned. The years the
prince walked around blind is condensed. There is magic with Rapunzel's tears fixing the eyes of the prince. The story
gives satisfaction that good will triumph.
Schwartz, Alvin. 1981. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark / Collected from
American Folklore. Illustrated by Stephen Gammell. New York: Harper
Collins Publishers. ISBN:
or hearing scary stories at sleepovers or camp. Reading the stories in this book
gives a person the feeling that they have heard some of these stories before. This
book is a collection of short stories that have been passed on orally by children.
This book is
divided up into five different types of stories with four to eight stories in each section.
The first stories are AAAAAAAAH. The purpose of these stories is to make
a person jump at the end. The first story is "The Big Toe" where a boy finds a big toe, takes it home, and eats it. During the night the owner of the toe looks for him, steadily coming closer until YOUVE GOT IT!
The next chapter
is He Heard Footsteps Coming Up the Cellar Stairs which contains ghost stories. In the story, "The Thing" two friends see
a skeleton. One year later one of the friends got sick and died. In the end, he looked like a skeleton.
They Eat Your
Eyes, They Eat Your Nose chapter has a story of a girl who took a bet to stand on a grave.
To prove she had been there she was to stick a knife in it. She did that
and then started to leave but was unable. The next day her friends found her
lying on the grave with the knife blade struck through the end of her skirt pining it to the ground.
Other Dangers is primarily stories told in recent times. "The Hook" is a familiar story of a couple that is parked and they
hear on the radio about an escaped murderer who had a hook. They decide to leave. When they get home, they discover a hook handing from the handle.
"High Beams" is another familiar story of current times. Someone
in a pickup who keeps flashing his high beams at her is following a girl home. When she jumps out of her car at home, she
finds out he did it because of a man in her back seat who had a knife.
The last chapter
has funny stories that involve scary types of things. "The Bloody Finger" tends
to be a common tale that children enjoy retelling.
This book has
been highly popular with students in elementary school but also it is among the
top ten of the most challenged books because of its content and gruesome pictures done in black and white by Stephen Gammell.
Scieszka, Jon. 1989. The True
Story of the 3 Little Pigs! Illustrated by
New York: Scholastic Inc. ISBN: 0590454951
version of The Three Little Pigs told by the wolf. He attempts to explain
where the idea of the Big Bad Wolf was started and how he was framed. In the story the wolf he tells why he was looking for
the three little pigs. He needed a cup of sugar for my dear old granny's birthday
cake. He had a bad cold is his reason the huffing and snuffing. He uses reasonable excuses to explain why he ate the pigs. "Hey, it's not my fault wolves eat cute little
animals like bunnies and sheep and pigs. Thats just the way we are. If cheeseburgers were cute, folks would probably think you were Big and Bad, too."
The story and
the text work together to produce a story and characters that is enjoyable over and over.
The wolf is portrayed as a mild mannered character that wears glasses and a sweater with a bow tie. He loves his granny
as evidenced by her portrait on the wall and him going through that much trouble to make a birthday cake for her. He is illustrated
walking down the road whistling while tossing into the air the cup for sugar.
The pigs are
depicted as being mean, coarse, and rude. The third little pig yells out, "And
your old granny can sit on a pin!" The pigs are never completely shown in the illustrations.
After the wolf blows the house down all that is shown of each pig is his back end with a curly tail. Even when a pig's face is shown, it is only partially, as when he is shaving. Mean looking eyes of the
third pig stare out of a peephole in the door at the wolf outside.
dark and shadowy illustrations are framed unevenly in black. On the first page,
the letter E on everybody is constructed out of straw, sticks, and bricks. Readers
will delight in examining details in the illustrations as in the sandwich with little animals, the newspaper headlines, and
the last page.
Climo, Shirley. 1999. The Persian Cinderella. Illustrated by Robert
York: Harper Collins Publishers. ISBN: 0060267631
type story, this retelling of a traditional folktale from Persia captures beauty and an essence of the time period with its
illustrations and text.
In the story
the archetype character is Settareh who like Cinderella lost her mother and is mistreated by her stepsisters but Settareh
grew lovelier with the years. The female members of the family are given a large gold coin to buy cloth in the bazaar to make
new clothes for the New Years party given by Prince Mehredad. The other women buy cloth but Settareh spends her money on almonds,
charity to an old woman, and a small blue jug.
One day while
holding the small blue jug she discovers that a pari, a fairy, is inside that would grant her wishes. As with Cinderella, Settareh wishes for a gown to wear to the New Year Party. At the palace, Prince Mehrdad
sees her. She does not recognize the prince and her stepsisters do not recognize
her. She flees the palace and loses one of her diamond bangles from her ankle. It is found and brought to the prince who wants to find the one who wore it.
As in the Cinderella
tale with the shoe, the women try on the bangle in the kingdom. Finally the queen
comes to Settareh's house. Her sisters try on the bangle to no avail. Settareh tries it on and it fits before she leaves the house with the queen she gets the jug and tells
one of her sisters that a pari is in the jug.
is arranged between Settareh and the Prince. It is celebrated for thirty-nine
days. Before the actual ceremony the two stepsisters get the jug and order the
pari to give them a way to get rid of Settareh. The sister drops the jug that
breaks and in with the shards is six jeweled hairpins. They stick these into
Settareh and she changes into a turtledove and flies away.
looks for Settareh but unable to find her he goes into deep despair. His only
visitor is a turtledove. One day he discovers the hairpins in the bird and pulls
them out. Settareh returns to her normal form. They get married and live happily
ever after. This quick resolution and the punishment of the evil stepsister provide
a typical but satisfying end to the story.
uses stock characters of the Cinderella story, the sweet young girl, the noble prince, and the evil stepsisters. The story
gives an insight to the culture of that time and the behavior of people with the following statements: "Settareh seldom saw
her father, for he was busy in the world of men"; "Each girl and every woman, no matter her age, covered her head with a cloak
so that no stranger might look on her face"; or when Mehrdad's mother says, "How can a man look for a maiden? What do you
know of women and their ways"; "Settareh's father honored the women's quarters
with a visit"; "The queen gave Settareh a mirror so that she might gaze at the prince's reflection without the embarrassment
of facing him"; and "Settareh knelt and touched her head to the ground. Then she looked up at him and said, You honor
me." These words and actions of the characters give the reader a view into another culture. The names of the characters also
imply something about them. Settareh means star and Mehrdad means one who shows compassion.
The culture is also
shown in the wonderful illustrations. School Library Journal tells of the illustrations, "Florczak's sumptuous
illustrations have jewel-like tones that glow against the brownline-paper background, and traditional designs decorate the
text. The illustrations are realistic and appealing, although in one scene, Settareh is wearing a blue veil with her face
exposed when the text specifies that she and the other women draped themselves in black to conceal their faces." There are
other slight problems with the text and illustrations. Settareh was supposed
to be wearing cast-off clothing and eating leftovers but her clothing looks richly made of silk while she does not look underfed.
These minor glitches do not take away from the story.