"Once upon a bad hair day,/ A prince rode up Rapunzel's way," opens Wilcox's debut book, offering a slight if agreeably silly take on the classic tale. In rhymed couplets of varying cleverness, the author relates a tale of miscommunication. The prince hears Rapunzel's whine (she is "upset her hair had lost its shine") and mistakes it for a plea (after which he "sallied forth to set her free"). The misunderstandings mount: when the royal asks her to throw down her hair, the heroine instead tosses him gaily colored underwear; a request for her "curly locks" brings a deluge of dirty socks; and hearing that he wants some twine, she heaves out her "blue-ribbon swine." Monks (The Cat Barked?) conveys the addled antics in whimsical art, rendered in an engaging mix of acrylic paint, collage and colored pencil. Among the kid-tickling images is a view of the stunned prince covered with pancake batter (which comes flying out of the tower when he asks if the lass has a ladder). Many youngsters may giggle at the wordplay (as well as the concluding twist), but the joke is pretty much a one-noter. Ages 4-9. (Dec.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
K-Gr 4-This humorous twist on a traditional tale will resonate with today's young readers. Told in rhyming couplets, this version features a protagonist who weeps, not from loneliness, but rather over the sorry state of her flowing blond locks. The prince, mistaking her tears for legitimate suffering, is determined to set her free and invites her to throw down her hair. Rapunzel, however, mishears his request and throws down her underwear instead. The persistent noble tries a variety of other tactics, asking for her locks, tresses, rope, twine, and ladder, each time growing less enamored as she responds with socks, dresses, a cantaloupe, a swine, and a bowl of pancake batter. Finally, he begs her to let down her braid, but instead out drops her maid, a fortuitous mistake since the servant and the prince fall madly in love and ride off together. The verses are clever and concise, and the rhyming pattern allows listeners to anticipate their endings and to giggle over the results. The rhythm is consistent and the stresses in each line flow naturally, inspiring would-be poets. Monks's delightful acrylic-and-collage illustrations add to the humor. Their bright, vivacious colors, bold patterns, fun background details (e.g., skyscrapers, airplanes, and a computer in Rapunzel's tower), and exaggerated facial expressions reinforce the silliness. Pair this with David Wiesner's The Three Pigs (Clarion, 2001) and Diane Stanley's Goldie and the Three Bears (HarperCollins, 2003) for a fresh look at classic fairy tales.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
"Once upon a bad hair day, a prince rode up Rapunzel's way." This opening line sets the stage for a thoroughly silly, modernized, and thoroughly fractured fairy tale written in rhyme. When the prince calls, "throw down your hair," Rapunzel, armed with hair dryer and computer, hears, "throw down your underwear." Which she does-followed by dirty socks for curly locks, silky dresses for silky tresses, cantaloupe for rope, pancake batter for ladder. Get the picture? When he calls out for her braid, she pushes out her maid, who lands on the prince and they fall in love and ride off together. The off-beat collage illustrations are as kooky as the tale, fabrics obviously used for clothing, but a mix of materials for flowers and shrubs. The rhyming device for the objects lends a participatory element for kids who already know the real version. And the twist on "happily ever after" spins a reality-based meaning on the phrase "falling for you" that kids should find funny. (Picture book/fairy tale. 5-8)