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Gibb, Sarah. Rapunzel. Albert Whitman & Company, 2010. Zelinsky, Paul O. Rapunzel. Dutton Children‟s Books, 1997.

Both versions of Rupunzel are based on the original story by the Brothers Grimm; however, Zelinsky takes his many steps further by including an extensive note about the history of the Grimm Brothers‟ German folktale which was actually an adaption from an earlier French folktale, Petrosinella. Adapted and Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky, Rapunzel was the 1998 Caldecott Medalist, his artwork is in the style of Italian Renaissance paintings. His oil paintings are in exquisite detail. The colors and texture – for example, the draping of the fabrics, make the reader feel as though she can reach into the page and touch them. The faces of the characters are filled with expression and the emotion is virtually palpable to the reader. The sweeping landscapes and the architectural details are remarkable – Some are in blocks, while others spread across the pages. In contrast, the artwork of Sarah Gibb is more stylized using full color pastels and silhouettes.

While her pastels are silhouettes are drawn in beautiful detail, the overall effect is

more simplistic and straight forward. Zelinsky‟s artwork is realistic and showing the complex and dark nature of people. Gibb‟s artwork is the opposite – while the images that include the witch are dark and mysterious, most of her illustrations have a light, airy feeling, and are very pink. In addition, Gibb does not provide subtle hints to other great works of art (such as Rembrandt‟s “The Jewish Wife”).


The text in Gibb‟s version is not as rich as in Zelinsky‟s version. It does not go into as great a detail as Zelinsky‟s, nor is it written in as formal a style. One notable difference is that Gibb never refers to the garden greens as rapunzel – only as salad leaves. Not only does this remove the explanation of how Rapunzel receives her name, but it also assumes that the reader cannot understand the richer text. Zelinsky‟s version explains in context what rapunzel is and the deep craving of it by the pregnant wife, and therefore the connection between the food and the baby‟s name. He also includes additional information in the „notes‟ section. Gibbs‟ version handles this in a much less intense way, and the reader may not understand the connection between the salad leaves and baby Rapunzel‟s name.

Melissa McDonald, University of Maryland, MLS graduate student

Rapunzel Annotation  

Annotation of two versions of "Rapunzel".