“Oh, Mother, the goose is on her nest again.” Zel rests her weight on the windowsill and leans out.


This is an interesting retelling of the familiar fairy tale of Rapunzel. “Zel” is Rapunzel, and the witch in this story is actually her mother (well, Zel thinks she is. Actually, the witch isn’t Zel’s mother.) This was interesting because in the original fairy tale, the witch is considered pure evil. But Zel’s “mother” in this story is conflicted. She does love Zel, yes, but she wants to keep Zel to herself, and when Zel falls in love with a prince, she locks Zel up in a tower. I didn’t find the “love at first sight” thing with the prince very convincing. They see each other once and then fall in love? She’s a peasant girl and he’s a prince. It felt unrealistic. However, it was an interesting take on a traditional fairy tale, and I love retellings of fairy tales. And this book was much better than Donna Jo Napoli’s other book that I read, The Smile. 
Read Zel:
  • if you like the story Rapunzel
  • or if you just enjoy retellings of any fairy tale

227 pages, 4.25 stars. 

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