Friday, February 16, 2007


We spent three hours talking about folklore in my children’s literature class yesterday. We discussed trickster tales and pourquoi tales, cumulative tales and beast tales, noodlehead tales and wonder tales. I came home and decided that this Friday I’d have a little fun with fairy tales at Blue Rose Girls.

Written by Leah Wilcox
Illustrated by Lydia Monks
Published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons

FALLING FOR RAPUNZEL is a fractured fairy tale. It’s written in verse and is sure to tickle the funny bones of young children.

In this humorous version of the longhaired maiden who is held captive in a tower, the prince rides by on his steed one day and hears Rapunzel whining because she’s having a “bad hair day.” He thinks she’s crying to be set free. He calls to her to throw down her hair so he can come to her rescue. Alas! Rapunzel is too far away and cannot hear the prince clearly. This is when the fun begins.

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, throw down your hair!”

She thought he said,
“Your underwear.”

In the illustration we see the prince with a pair of pink bloomers hanging over his face…and dainty unmentionables of other colors on his horse’s head and the ground.

The prince calls to Rapunzel again:

“No, Rapunzel.
Your curly locks!’

Rapunzel threw down dirty socks.

And so it goes.
The prince calls for her “silky tresses!” Instead he gets her silky dresses.
He calls for a rope—but gets bopped on the bean with a cantaloupe.
He tries for twine—but gets laden down with her “blue-ribbon swine.”

At this point, we see the prince grimacing. He has just about lost patience…but is doing his best to keep his temper under control.

He growled up, “Do you have a ladder?”
Rapunzel tossed out pancake batter.

The prince, dripping with batter, calls up to Rapunzel one last time. He tells her to let down her braid. Now…you know she’s not going to get it right. Not this ditzy fairy tale female. No, the braid stays up in the tower…it’s the maid she pushes out the window. The maid falls on top of the prince and knocks him unconscious. The maid revives the royal fellow. And guess what happens? The prince and the maid take an immediate shine to one another. The next time Rapunzel looks out her tower window she sees the prince and her servant riding off in the distance and thinks she finally must have “heard him right.” She is unfazed by the situation. She’s not angry that the prince has “fallen” for her maid.

In the last two-page spread, Rapunzel is shown outside on the grass greeting her blue-ribbon swine at the foot of the tower...whose back door is swung wide-open.

Rapunzel muses:
“I hope if they come back for more, they’ll think to knock on my back door.”

This book by Leah Wilcox is great to read aloud to young children who are familiar with the traditional version of the tale. It has a bouncy rhythm and nearly all the pairs of end rhymes work perfectly. Lydia Monks's brightly colored illustrations done in acrylic paints, paper montage, and colored pencils add to the fun of this fractured fairy tale.

More than a decade ago, I began writing a collection of humorous fairy tale poems entitled Excerpts from the Fairy Tale Files. I’ve never submitted the manuscript to a publisher—but I’ll share one of the poems with you today.

Queen Speaking to Rumpelstiltskin When He Returns to Claim Her Firstborn Child
by Elaine Magliaro

You’re back again?
I knew you’d be.
You want my baby?
Let me see:

Her dirty diapers
Are obscene
And changing them
Beneath a queen.

She spits up food
And likes to drool.
Too bad that she’s
Too young for school.

Every day is
Such a hassle.
We have no daycare
At the castle.

She cries all night.
I get no rest.
No wonder I
Don’t look my best!

I’m so exhausted
And frustrated.
Motherhood is

Although I love
My daughter Ann,
I’ll keep my promise,
Little man.

Now…here’s the cream
For diaper rash.
And here’s the baby.
Gotta dash!



Mary Lee said...

I hope you find a publisher! This one is fabulous and leaves me wanting more!

Thanks also for the fractured Rapunzel. I'll add that one to my collection.

Elaine Magliaro said...

Thanks, Mary Lee!

Would you like to know what inspired me to write a collection of fairy tale poems? I was teaching a unit on traditional literature in my second grade classroom and I had my students write fairy tale poems. Their poems were I thought I'd try penning some myself.

Kelly said...

Oh my goodness, Elaine. What a great poem!! Truly funny and one any mother will appreciate :)

Nancy said...

Very funny and wonderful!

Rita said...

That poem is fabulous.