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Children's LiteratureThere is a reason for fairy tales: They are timeless, which means, among other things, that they are always readable. They are ageless, which means that readers of any age can enjoy them. Retellings and reinterpretations can be absolute page-turners if they are done well. This is one of those books that is a delight to read. First of all, the premise is fascinating. Rapunzel, she of the golden hair, actually has no hair at all. Her mother, who had expected a beautiful baby who looked just like her, refused to hold her, and happily turned her over to the witch next-door. The witch, Melisande, was not exactly a witch. She was an old-fashioned, "wise woman" who raised the child as well as she could for thirteen years. Now things begin to happen. First, a tinker shows up at their door with his apprentice. Rapunzel expects Melisande to throw them out, but instead she feeds them and offers them a place to stay. Times are changing, though, and soon the tinker tells them that the villagers are going to make them all leave. In a scene that reads remarkably like a pogrom, the fleeing "outcasts" find things out about each other and themselves. Melisande had a reason for taking in Rapunzel. She'd had a daughter of her own, Rue, who had been taken away by a wizard and kept in a tower—does this begin to sound familiar? Rapunzel is going to be instrumental in freeing the unfortunate Rue, if she can get over her jealousy. Rue is jealous, too—how could her mother take in another girl, is this girl replacing her? Now another point of contention appears—there is a prince who is searching for the girl held in the tower. Highly recommended. 2006, Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster, Ages 10 to 15.