Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky
It’s been a while since we tackled a book with that awe-inspiring, shiny Gold Caldecott medal on its cover. As such, it seemed wise to break out Paul O. Zelinsky’s major award winner. Limiting our Into the Woods quotes to the bare minimum, Kate proves to be the perfect reader for this book, having only seen Tangled once, and that was while drunk and one-eyed. She’s practically a clean slate! Plus, it seems appropriate to do a story on a woman attempting (and failing) to enforce chastity at a time when Texas is controlling women’s bodies at an increasing rate.
I think I’ve looked at this cover a hundred times before and never noticed the cat lurking in Rapunzel’s hair here.
That cat has an entire arc of its own, it seems. Raised as a kitten, it accompanies her into the tower and then into the wilderness later. One cannot help but wonder if this was a cat Mr. Zelinsky himself owned. It’s utterly realistic, though Kate takes issue with the scene where it impassively views the prince’s entrance into the tower like it ain’t no big thing.
If I were a witch and I had the ability to create gorgeous grounds full of any number of fine and outrageous beasties, I think I too would consider filling it with bushbabies and what could either be a pangolin or a komodo dragon.
Witches come and witches go but few show the maternal instincts of this particular witch. By making her seem to actually care about the child, Zelinsky gives the whole book another layer and weight and depth. Meanwhile, he’s not above making a very fancy carpet too.
I think that it is fair to say that the witch was way into aerial silks before any of y’all. Check out that upper body strength! Most impressive.
And now we come to the True Crime part of the podcast. The text for this next portion reads, “Struck with grief, the prince let go of the braids, and he plummeted to the ground.” Yet as we can see from this image, the witch’s hand is suspiciously placed. Do we actually think that he fell of his own accord? I’m not so sure.
Here’s something we didn’t notice on the podcast but that I belatedly wanted to give Mr. Zelinsky credit for. Please notice that on the last day that Rapunzel is in her tower, she is wearing a purple shift over a white dress. Now notice that after living in the desert for a while she has repurposed her purple shift as makeshift clothing for her own children. So clever!
And remember, if you have any baby dolls, creepy or otherwise, that you can spare Kate, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with her.
Filed under: Fuse 8 n' Kate
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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