Retold by Susanna Davidson, illustrated by Desideria Guicciardini
This adaptation for newly-confident readers includes bold and simply text with lively comical and brightly-coloured illustrations. I really liked the 18th century feel to the story, specifically in the costumes. I know it is not unusual, but for some reason it really stood out for me!
The strength of this adaptation is that it is despite being faithful to the original story (apart from the fact that the prince does not trick Rapunzel into letting him into the tower and rather, gets invited, which actually is quite a helpful message to send to readers regarding safeguarding!), it has been highly modernised not only in content, but also in style. The text is very contemporary, with expressions like “I am so bored” and “the forest is spooky”, which is very helpful considering its targeted audience. This also allows for humour to be brought in the story. I loved that Rapunzel’s mother was portrayed as a hormonally-challenged pregnant wife with wacky pregnancy cravings (toothpaste anyone?) and her father as a harassed father to be. Also the names of their children’s will definitely appeal to young readers: Lettuce, Sprout, and Pumpkin!
Bringing humour in a dark tale is a great way to encourage and entice young readers. They know the story, but it would probably be quite daunting to read a more threatening version on their own, and I think all those funny bits will help build their confidence and make them more comfortable. In fact, this Usborne Young Reading Gift Editions series is excellent. They are little hardback books, with ribbon markers and those little details go a long way at making newly-confident readers feel quite “special” for being able to read something so grown-up!