Rapunzel: An Islamic Tale by Fawzia Gilani, illustrated by Sarah Nesti Willard

Rapunzel: An Islamic Tale by Fawzia Gilani, illustrated by Sarah Nesti Willard. Kube Publishing, 2021. 9780860377344 

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format: Hardcover

Genre:  Fairy tale

What did you like about the book? This spin on an original tale comes from a new perspective as it focuses on the teachings of the Islamic religion. Characters and traits from the original Grimm story are reinvented. Rapunzel’s mother is a clockmaker and her father does not steal rapunzel plants; instead, he tries to barter for it. Shauna Leng, the antagonist, is well written and quite detestable. In this religious version, passages from the Qur’an and their English translations are abundant. Rapunzel is raised by multiple governesses who all concentrate on her learning the Qur’an, becoming inquisitive, and warm-hearted. Color illustrations complement text.  The alternate ending is novel and works well with the story.  The glossary at the end, as well as references to Qur’an quotes used in the text, are a very helpful addition. 

Anything you didn’t like about it? Neither are negative, yet readers looking for a traditional tale may be disappointed. Non-Muslim readers may need some extra information about the culture surrounding Islam.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Readers in grades 1 to 4, who enjoy alternate  fairy tales such as The Way Meat Loves Salt would like this title.  

Who should buy this book? This would be a good purchase for elementary schools or public libraries that cannot get enough Islamic-based fairy tales.

Where would you shelve it? 398.2

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? I feel that this title would reside near the top of the “to read” pile.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Elena Schuck, Nathaniel H. Wixon School Library, Dennis, Massachusetts

Date of review: January 22, 2022

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