Review of the Day: Sugar Cane (Part Two)
There were things I would have liked to have seen, of course. Illustrators like Paul Zelinsky have found that the Rapunzel storyline has a lot more depth and interest if you don’t view the witch as an out-and-out monster. This is essentially the story of a woman who wants a baby. Rapunzel/Sugar Cane is well tended and loved by her adoptive parent. But "Sugar Cane" the book is fairly vague on the witch aspect of the tale. One minute she’s threatening the young lovers and the next minute she’s gone, never to be seen again. This is certainly in keeping with the original Rapunzel tale, but couldn’t Storace have offered a little closure on the evil sorceress end of things? Then again, what do you do with a maternal villain? Having Sugar Cane somehow kill or destroy the woman she considered her mother for most of her life is harsh, to say the least. And a last minute change of heart on the part of the antagonist would feel false or silly. So instead, she fades into the story. It’s an easier solution, but still not a perfect one.
Just the same, it’s a beautiful retelling. A bedtime book that no one in their right mind would hesitate to wrap up for a child on a gift-giving occasion. Fairy tales and fables will always be with us. We may as well gussy them up a little with lovely new views like Jump at the Sun’s, "Sugar Cane". Much with the recommended.
On shelves July 1st.
Filed under: Reviews
About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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