BooksForKidsBlog

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Toy and Movie Tie-Ins: Rapunzel's Amazing Hair by Kiki Thorpe

FINER THAN SILK AND
EXCEEDINGLY RARE.

CAN YOU GUESS WHAT IT IS?
IT'S MY MAGICAL HAIR!

A FOUNTAIN OF WONDROUS POWER...
THAT'S WHY WE HAVE TO STAY IN THIS TOWER.

Walt Disney's princesses have "ruled" since Snow White first burst upon the nation's screens in glorious Technicolor in 1937. Since then princesses and their like have filled theatres, sold DVDs, and rocked the movie tie-in business. Walt Disney, Inc., has skillfully rotated their prime products in and out of the market to catch each generation of little girls. Nonetheless, the supply of Western European princesses from folklore has its limits--which explains the appearance of non-Grimm-generated princesses such as Jasmine, Pocahontas, and Mulan.

But there was one Grimm "princess" character that never made it to the silver screen--Rapunzel, the maiden in the tower. But now her moment has come. Never mind that the fairy tale Rapunzel wasn't herself a princess--she finds her prince, just like Cinderella, and that counts, right?

The original Rapunzel is a a quirky character, like many of her princess peers, coming out of a family situation that could only be characterized as dysfunctional--promised to a sorceress as she was by her poor mother in return for satisfaction of her pregnancy's bizarre craving for a salad of rapunzel greens. The step-mother's jealousy imprisons her in virtual isolation from society in a tower, accessible only by the sorceress by means of a climb up Rapunzel's own long, long hair, a step-mother who domination leads her to blind her daughter's suitor to keep her in her tower. In its original, Rapunzel is a symbolic tale probing the dark regions of human desires and drives--not exactly a pretty technicolor story.*

But never mind the dreary details from those fusty old Grimm Brothers! Disney's newest princess film makes the most of the fun aspects of story's best device, Rapunzel's wondrous, iconic, and nearly magical hair. Kiki Thorpe's Tangled: Rapunzels Amazing Hair (Disney Tangled) takes a lighthearted look at that marvelous head of hair, so long and strong that it could provide a ladder to the agile prince to find her and the means for her own escape from her seclusion to inclusion in society. Claire Keane, one of the animated movie's production artists, provides the stylized cartoon illustrations for the book, to make this movie tie-in a natural for kids who have just seen or are eager to see the movie.

Other top tie-ins include Tangled (Disney Tangled) (Little Golden Book), Disney Tangled: Rapunzel's Dream Storybook with Musical Hairbrush, Learn to Draw Disney's Tangled: Learn to Draw Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, and other Characters from Disney's Tangled step by step! (Licensed Learn to Draw), Disney Tangled: Rapunzel's Dream Storybook with Musical Hairbrush, and the very well done Disney Tangled Rapunzel Doll -- 12''. For the purist, of course, there is the classic original, Caldecott winner Paul Zelinsky's gorgeous picture book version, Rapunzel (Picture Puffin Books).

*But then, so are the other original "princess" stories, whose movie scripts utilize these deep emotions to great effect (viz. the evil Queen's huntsman and poisoned apple in Snow White).

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3 Comments:

  • I just stumbled on your blog. I AM IN LOVE! I teach first grade and am always looking for good info on books. Thanks! I'm your new blog stalker!

    By Blogger Ken and Kristina, at 12:55 AM  

  • BTW... I hope it's okay that I linked you to my blog. I can't wait to read more!

    By Blogger Ken and Kristina, at 1:03 AM  

  • Thank you, Ken and Kristina! I love teachers who use children's literature intelligently with their classes, because I believe very much in its power to open the child's mind to a larger world view!

    Link all you like. It's a pleasure to have you as a frequent reader.

    By Blogger GTC, at 9:08 AM  

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