Rapunzel's Revenge--Shannon and Dean Hale
Illustrated by Nathan Hale
August 2008 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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.
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.
Rapunzel's Revenge is a lot of fun. I love the western/fairytale mash up, though that setting takes a little getting used to. Rapunzel is great. No damsel in distress, she is proactive in rescuing herself from towers, sea serpents, and giant henchmen. I love the little touches of tomboyishness the illustrations give her, like leaves in her hair after she has been climbing trees. Jack is also a lot of fun. He is shameless, but lovable. He's a scoundrel and a thief without being a jerk. Like Han Solo, but less rude. He and Rapunzel play well off each other.
I love the little chunks of humor sprinkled here and ther, things like Jack saying, "We'll have to wait until nightfall," and in the next frame the narrator textbox says "Night fell." Little quirky things like that make the book not take itself too seriously.
This is not the book you're looking for if you want a complex villain or developed relationship between Mother Gothel and Rapunzel. I love the mother-daughter dynamic in Tangled, but that is not part of this book. And I'm okay with that; it's out of the scope of this particular retelling.
Some reviewers have said the plot is too slow before Rapunzel escapes from her tower. I can agree that the story picks up that once Jack comes in and Rapunzel starts lassoing things with her hair, but I liked the backstory. Either way, it's a graphic novel, so it's a quick read. The plot does feel a bit disconnected as we move from one adventure to the next, but it each adventure is still fun.
Rapunzel's Revenge is a fun, quick read, and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel.