Friday, 22 October 2010

Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale - illustrated by Nathan Hale

October 2008, Bloomsbury Books
144 pages, paperback
Personal Copy

Mid-grade/action adventure graphic novel

comic action, mild violence, a stolen kiss

Summary from Bloomsbury
Bestselling and award-winning author Shannon Hale teams up with first-time author and husband Dean Hale, and with Nathan Hale (no relation to either) to create a stunning comic book. Action and originality abound in this hugely entertaining, Wild West-retelling of the Grimm Brothers’ fairytale

Escaping from the enchanted tree where Mother Gothel imprisoned her, Rapunzel sets off alone through the ghost towns and Badlands of Gothel’s Reach. She is determined to find Gothel’s Villa and teach Mother Gothel a long-overdue lesson for her years of treachery and lies, and help her real mother get out of the mine camps where Mother Gothel has kept her enslaved.

Rapunzel’s adventures take her across a country much akin to the Wild Wild West, where she is soon wanted – dead or alive – for horse thieving, kidnapping, jail breaking and using her hair in a manner other than nature intended!

In this highly original take on the familiar story of Rapunzel, Shannon and Dean Hale introduce us to a feisty and dynamic heroine and Nathan Hale’s illustrations offer a striking visual feast, ensuring this is a truly unforgettable reading experience.

Mom's Thoughts
No one had even heard of this book when I tripped over it on Amazon while hunting down a child-friendly graphic novel for my voracious 8-year-old, so I picked it up with some trepidation. What grabbed me at first was the cover. A princess in pants fighting with braids? How is that not cool? It was time for a test read, just to make sure the book was age appropriate. *wink wink*

By page three I was laughing. The beautiful pictures combined with the witty narrative voice sucked me right in. Rapunzel (don't call her Punzie!) is a fun, bold, real character. She's curious, she's rebellious, she's angry, and she's hungry, everything a real girl is during the course of a day.

Calamity Jack with his lucky bean and egg-less goose are a good counter-point to Rapunzel's sometimes forceful personality. Jack is engrossing enough as a secondary character that I'm planning on buying the second book (Calamity Jack) in November (even though it's out now).

I think parents and children alike will enjoy this wild west adventure with a princess who can save herself, but still has time for mom. This is going to be my go-to book for the winter holidays this year, I know quite a few little princesses who will enjoy reading about a strong female lead and who will cheer Rapunzel's choice to ditch Prince Charming.

Kids' Thoughts
"Mom, it's a book! Look at her hair!"

Within minutes of finding the book on the table as an after-school surprise the girls were curled up together on the couch, slowly turning the pages as Eldest read aloud. Some of the words were a little hard for her second-grade reading level. The infrequently used western-style slang confused them a few times, but the pictures kept them from getting lost and made them laugh.

This has become a bedtime staple. Daddy reads one chapter every night and the girls flip to their favorite parts to read during their free time. The jokes and allusion to romance are at just the right level for grade-schoolers.

Final Conclusion
Real women can rescue themselves, but it helps to have friends at the end of the day.

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