Reviews for Sugar Cane : A Caribbean Rapunzel
Booklist Reviews 2007 July #1
*Starred Review* In her first book for children, award-winning poet Storace moves the story of Rapunzel to a sun-drenched Caribbean island teeming with magic. In this tropical retelling, a young fisherman's pregnant wife craves sugar cane. After a long search, the fisherman finds a sugar-cane patch and helps himself, but he is horrified to learn that the garden belongs to sorceress Madame Fate, who claims the fisherman's baby girl, Sugar Cane, on the child's first birthday. Storace's story cleaves close to the original's basic elements: the sorceress locks Sugar Cane in a high tower, which she enters by climbing her captive's long hair. Sugar Cane's voice draws a handsome young man to her high prison, and the young couple falls secretly in love. The story allows a more hopeful (and chaste) ending: the lovers escape in a whirl of terrifying magic and hold a joyful wedding before creating a child. Storace writes with a poet's command of rhythm, sound, and imagery: the water at night, for example, is "dark as sleep before dreams rise." Working in his signature textured style, Colón produces images that are as mesmerizing as the text. Brilliant, light-infused hues and swirling lines create glowing compositions of the island setting, the frightening conjure woman, and the Afro-Caribbean characters. Too long for a single read-aloud, this powerful tale will be best enjoyed in installments. For another fairy tale reset in Caribbean culture, suggest Robert San Souci's Cendrillon (1998). Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Spring
Storace deftly weaves Caribbean imagery and music into her Rapunzel retelling. Imprisoned in a tropical tower, Sugar Cane grows into a beautiful, talented young woman. Carnival music contest winner King responds to Sugar Cane's song and inspires her to break free from the tower. Colón's handsomely textured curvilinear illustrations beautifully reflect the story's island-inspired flow. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2007 June #2
In this lyrical retelling of the classic Grimm tale, a young couple lives by the sea. When the woman becomes pregnant, she craves only sugar cane, so the man sets out for the far side of the island, only to discover some in the garden of a grand house nearby. He takes a few stalks, but when he returns for more, he finds the garden's owner, the sorceress Madame Fate, who announces she will claim the child in payment for the theft. A year after Sugar Cane is born, "as glowing and velvety as a black pansy," the sorceress imprisons her in a tower with only the ghosts of great teachers and a green monkey for company. Years later, a musician hears Sugar Cane's voice echoing over the waves, setting the rest of the story into satisfying motion, culminating in a joyous wedding dance, which may still continue to this day. Storace's glimmering prose and Col-n's luminous artwork are a perfect combination and complement to the story, and a dreamlike tribute to the beauty of the sea. (Fiction. 6-10) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Reviews 2007 July
Gr 1-5-- The fisherman's pregnant wife wants sugar cane, and in an attempt to satisfy her cravings he cuts some from the garden of Madame Fate, an infamous "conjure-woman." In return, the sorceress demands the couple's unborn child, who will be named Sugar Cane. On the girl's first birthday, the woman takes her to live in a tower without stairs. As Sugar Cane grows, she learns music from her spirit-teachers--an angel from the heavenly choir, a 500-year-old Spanish Gypsy, and a "jazz master from New Orleans." One evening the lonely girl's voice attracts King, a young man renowned for his songs. Coln's colored-pencil-and-watercolor illustrations mirror the lyrical text. Contours and curves scratched into the sun-drenched landscapes create a rhythm of their own. Not only does Sugar Cane eventually find and marry King once she escapes the sorceress, but she is also reunited with her parents on her wedding day. Music from the Italian Renaissance permeates Paul O. Zelinsky's Rapunzel (Dutton, 1997), but Storace's Sugar Cane dances "the rumba, the bolero, the samba, and the mambo." This lovely book begs to be read aloud.--Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN [Page 86]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.