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Mini-Review: Rapunzel's Revenge (Shannon and Dean Hale)

Product Details:
Reading Level: MG, graphic novel
Pages: 144
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (August 2008)
ISBN: 9781599900704
Source: my own copy

Once upon a time, in a land you only think you know, lived a little girl and her mother . . . or the woman she thought was her mother.
Rapunzel's Revenge (Rapunzel's Revenge, #1)Every day, when the little girl played in her pretty garden, she grew more curious about what lay on the other side of the garden wall . . . a rather enormous garden wall.
And every year, as she grew older, things seemed weirder and weirder, until the day she finally climbed to the top of the wall and looked over into the mines and desert beyond.
Newbery Honor-winning author Shannon Hale teams up with husband Dean Hale and brilliant artist Nathan Hale (no relation) to bring readers a swashbuckling and hilarious twist on the classic story as you’ve never seen it before. Watch as Rapunzel and her amazing hair team up with Jack (of beanstalk fame) to gallop around the wild and western landscape, changing lives, righting wrongs, and bringing joy to every soul they encounter.
I love a good fairy tale retelling. The story of Rapunzel has always been one of my favorite fairy tales. I think it's due to my obsession with long hair. I have never been a fan of comic books-- or the more sophisticated name used now "graphic novels"-- because I have an over active imagination. Seeing the pictures that correspond to the text always seemed like cheating. But, when I saw this book by my beloved author Shannon Hale at my son's school book fair (for 5 bucks!) I couldn't pass it up.

This isn't your typical story of Rapunzel. There is no prince pining away saying, "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your golden hair." (In this book she's a red head.) In fact, this Rapunzel is proactive. She sits around in her tower while she waits for her hair to grow long enough to aid her escape. She's not sitting there waiting for Prince Charming to rescue her.

There is also a kick-butt quality to this Rapunzel. She's not your typical delicate princess-type. She's not a princess at all. Her parents are peasants in this story. Punzie-- as she is nicknamed in this story-- uses her hair in the fierest ways. She can lasso snakes, ride wild boars, hog tie villains... She's a hard-core cowgirl, y'all. I thought that was a fun touch to the story. I also liked that the story itself isn't just about Rapunzel. There is a boy named Jack that has his own story to be told (and a golden goose named Goldy).

What would a review of a graphic novel be without a few comments on the illustrations? I really don't know what to say about them. As you can tell from the cover, they are amazing! Nathan Hale (illustrator) did a phenomenal job. The colors are vivid and extremely detailed. It's not anime style-- which I appreciate-- but more realistic. No one looks overly cartoonish, and there is a great amount of detail given to the characters' faces.

Overall, I give this one a solid 4. The originality of this version of Rapunzel is typical of Shannon Hale's retellings (which are simply awesome) and the illustrations are the perfect compliment. My oldest son wants to read the book after seeing me reading it because he noticed it was a graphic novel. (I'm sure his father will be thrilled to see him reading a fairy tale. Ha!)  I guess this book could appeal to both boys and girls on some level. My son adores graphic novels, which is why he wants to read this one. I was drawn to the story and characters. I'm certain everyone could find something to enjoy in Rapunzel's Revenge.



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