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Early/Young Readers, Fairy/Folk/Tall Tale, Humor, Picture Books, Read-Aloud Suggestions, Teacher & Parent Recommendations

FALLING FOR RAPUNZEL by Leah Wilcox Illustrated by Lydia Monks

Lately I have been completely occupied with directing a couple of fractured fairy tales for the stage with young actors (6th – 9th grade). Fractured fairy tales or interesting fairytale retellings are one of my favorite things so I thought I would share one of my long-time favorites today.

Falling For Rapunzel is one of my go-to books when I want to demonstrate the concept of fractured fairytales. In this ‘fractured’ version of Rapunzel the Prince comes upon Rapunzel’s tower quite by accident. Rapunzel is whining loudly to her maid about having a bad hair day, the Prince overhears her laments and mistakenly believes that she is in need of rescuing. He calls up to her “…throw down your hair.” She mishears him and instead throws down some underwear(big flowered bloomers).  It gets further and further off track as the Prince continues trying to articulate various forms of “throw down your hair” and Rapunzel continues to misunderstand him. The Prince thinks perhaps Rapunzel is testing him so he persists.

It culminates with the Prince calling for her “braid” and Rapunzel throwing out her “maid.” The Maid and the Prince ride off into the sunset together. In the final pages:

Rapunzel watched them ride from sight.

I’m glad I finally heard him right!

Then we see her calmly descend the staircase in her tower and go out into the fresh air through the doorway that has been there all the time.

Falling For Rapunzel avoids the pitfall of forced rhymes to fit a set structure. The rhyming text in Falling For Rapunzel (told in couplets) maintains a light, pleasant, consistent rhythm throughout the story. Lydia Monks’ illustrations are bright, bold and blocky in the collage style similar to Lauren Childs of Charlie and Lola fame.

I have used Falling For Rapunzel as a read-aloud with my own children, in numerous classrooms and have even had elementary students adapt it into a play which they triumphantly performed for an audience. With text and illustrations that perfectly complement each other throughout the narrative, humor and a wonderful sense of silliness, Falling For Rapunzel is a perfect independent or read-aloud choice for older preschool, kindergarten and elementary students.

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