Dorothee Duntze's and Trina Schart Hyman's Rapunzel versions remain my favorites, this one is so gorgeously pretty that it simply must be mentioned. The text is quite lengthy and most of the main points of the original text have been retained; the craving for salad, deal with the wicked witch, locking Rapunzel in a tower, secret meetings with the prince, discovery, separation, the prince's blindness and eventual healing with Rapunzel's tears.
There are some major differences in the story. Several plot elements have been "sanitized"; the prince "was so badly hurt that he could no longer see" instead of having his eyes pierced with thorns and when he eventually finds Rapunzel, she is not living in a wasteland with twins, but safe with the woodland creatures and there's a noticeably lack of the patter of tiny feet. Which leads to several of the additions to the story, mainly "the woodland creatures." I would guess the author is a fan of the Disneyfied Snow White, since that's the only fairy tale version I can think of with such...helpful little animals. Rapunzel plays with them, they cheer her loneliness, and eventually lead the prince back to her. At the end of the story, Rapunzel at her wedding is reunited with her peasant parents, and there's a happy ending for everyone but the witch, who retires into a hermit-like existence.
Although I can't resist being a bit snarky about some of the too-too sweet parts of the story, it is mostly a good retelling, pleasantly written and parents who are reluctant to introduce their princess-loving little girls to the dark side of life yet will be perfectly happy with this version.
Which brings us to the illustrations. Now, I am not a pink fan and these illustrations are very pink, but I loved them anyhow. They have a delightful and intricate delicacy that reminds me of Kay Nielsen's delicate traceries and silhouettes. Gibbs' illustrations are imaginative and lovely, ranging from elaborate silhouettes with pastel backgrounds to double page spreads full of color and tiny flowers and vines.
I would totally want wallpaper of this for my little girl's bedroom. If I, you know, had kids. Or, come to think of it, I would absolutely buy fabric with her trees to make curtains for my four poster bed...ahem.
Verdict: Absolutely buy this for your fairy tale section. I really wish I had bought this one and not John Cech's version, which wasn't as pretty as I had expected....I simply must reorganize the budget so I can get this!
ISBN: 9780807568040; Published March 2011 by Albert Whitman; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library