The popular author of Princess Academy teams with her husband and illustrator Hale (no relation) for a muscular retelling of the famously long-haired heroine's story, set in a fairy-tale version of the Wild West. The Hales' Rapunzel, the narrator, lives like royalty with witchy Mother Gothel, but defies orders, scaling villa walls to see what's outside-a shocking wasteland of earth-scarring mines and smoke-billowing towers. She recognizes a mine worker from a recurrent dream: it's her birth mother, from whom she was taken as punishment for her father's theft from Mother G.'s garden. Their brief reunion sets the plot in motion. Mother G. banishes Rapunzel to a forest treehouse, checking annually for repentance, which never comes. Rapunzel uses her brick-red braids first to escape, then like Indiana Jones with his whip, to knock out the villains whom she and her new sidekick, Jack (of Beanstalk fame), encounter as they navigate hostile territory to free Rapunzel's mom from peril. Illustrator Hale's detailed, candy-colored artwork demands close viewing, as it carries the action-Rapunzel's many scrapes are nearly wordless. With its can-do heroine, witty dialogue and romantic ending, this graphic novel has something for nearly everybody. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This version of the classic fairy tale Rapunzel is set in the old Southwest, complete with cowboys, coal mines, and coyotes. Rapunzel is a young girl living in a fortress with Mother Gothel, an enchantress who can make plants grow at her whim. Although their home is overflowing with fruits and flowers, it is surrounded by a wall that masks the desert and coal mines outside-Gothel owns everything, and the native people depend on her good will to keep their crops growing. When Rapunzel sneaks over the wall on her twelfth birthday, she sees the desolate world over which Mother Gothel rules, and she meets her real mother who was forced to give Rapunzel to Gothel at birth. To punish her curiosity, Gothel imprisons Rapunzel inside an enchanted tree that has only one window, far above the ground. Just as in the original version, Rapunzel's hair grows prodigiously. But this girl does not need a prince to climb up and rescue her. She uses her braid as a lasso to escape the tree and goes on many adventures that lead her ultimately to reunite with her mother and find true love in a boy named Jack, whose companion is an uncooperative goose. The Hale team creates an engaging heroine. Rapunzel gallivants across the unexpected setting, meets a cast of characters both humorous and threatening, and in the end comes to inherit the land that Gothel had stripped of life and returns it to the native people. This novel presents entertaining girl power at its quirkiest. Reviewer: Laura Lehner
Gr 5 Up
This is the tale as you've never seen it before. After using her hair to free herself from her prison tower, this Rapunzel ignores the pompous prince and teams up with Jack (of Beanstalk fame) in an attempt to free her birth mother and an entire kingdom from the evil witch who once moonlighted as her "mother." Dogged by both the witch's henchman and Jack's outlaw past, the heroes travel across the map as they right wrongs, help the oppressed, and generally try to stay alive. Rapunzel is no damsel in distress-she wields her long braids as both rope and weapon-but she happily accepts Jack's teamwork and friendship. While the witch's castle is straight out of a fairy tale, the nearby mining camps and rugged surrounding countryside are a throwback to the Wild West and make sense in the world that the authors and illustrator have crafted. The dialogue is witty, the story is an enticing departure from the original, and the illustrations are magically fun and expressive. Knowing that there are more graphic novels to come from this writing team brings readers their own happily-ever-after.-Cara von Wrangel Kinsey, New York Public Library
A beloved fairy tale gets a glossy graphic-novel makeover, reworked in a fanciful Old West setting. Rapunzel lives an idyllic life in Mother Gothel's verdant villa until she dares question her about what lies beyond the outer wall. Her curiosity leads her to uncover the shocking truth about her past, resulting in her subsequent isolation in a faraway tower. Propelled by her strong desire to see Gothel brought to justice for her misdeeds, she escapes and embarks upon a journey to seek the truth. Along the way, she meets up with Jack (of beanstalk fame) and faces enemies of epic proportions, including sea serpents and a pack of murderous coyotes. The Hales apply a new twist (or three) to the classic tale, creating a strong, sassy, braid-whipping character who waits for no prince. Nathan Hale's art, stylistically reminiscent of a picture book, provides a snazzy counterpoint to the folksy text. A dash of typical fairy-tale romance, a strong sense of social justice and a spunky heroine make this a standout choice for younger teens. (Graphic fiction. 10-14)
If you loved The Goose Girl and Book of a Thousand Days, you are in for another treat. In Rapunzel's Revenge, author Shannon Hale partners with Dean Hale and Nathan Hale to retell the Grimm's classic as a graphic novel. This is definitely not your grandmother's Rapunzelthe quietly submissive, longsuffering princess, waiting for the prince to rescue her. The Hales's updated teenager-ina- tower has a big heart, strong braids, and a swashbuckling, high-energy, big-adventure story to tell. This Rapunzel is "WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE for horse thieving, kidnapping, jail breaking, and using her hair in a manner other than nature intended!" While Rapunzel's Revenge is definitely the stuff of high adventure and the old West, it is very much a story about growing up female, taking chances, negotiating potentially dangerous landscapes, confronting cruelty and loss, and re-finding the nurture and comfort that can be had in love. Reviewer: Phyllis Thompson