Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Rapunzel's Revenge

Rapunzel's Revenge

Shannon Hale , Dean Hale
Illustrator:  Nathan Hale 
Graphic Novel
For ages 10 and up
Bloomsbury, 1995   ISBN: 978-1599902883

For as long as she can remember Rapunzel has lived a charmed life with Mother in a beautiful villa. As she gets older she begins to wonder what might be on the other side of the villa's high garden walls, and though she is told not to try to look over them, Rapunzel's curious spirit will not let her be. So one day she finds away to get over the wall and past Mother's guards, and what she sees dismays her. There is desolation and misery all around. Not only that, but Rapunzel meets a ragged beaten down woman who turns out to be her real mother. Apparently the woman Rapunzel calls mother is a witch called Gothel, who holds the people who live on the land around her villa in her cruel magical grip.

Once Rapunzel knows who she really is she refuses to be pliant any longer, and Gotha has her imprisoned in a huge magical tree far away. Rapunzel growns into a young woman, and her red hair also grows until it is so long that Rapunzel is able to use her braids to escape her prison. Though she has nothing with her other than her courage, her wits, and her considerable fighting skills, Rapunzel decides that she must do what she can to free her mother. And so her adventures begin in earnest.

This clever and compelling take on the Rapunzel fairy tale is sure to delight readers who have a fondness for graphic novels, high adventure, the Wild West, romance, and magic. The tale is often funny, and it is interesting to see how the characters evolve. Not only that, but characters from other fairy tales and tall tales also make an appearance in the story. With her pluck and her superlative fighting abilities, Rapunzel is the kind of girl everyone can admire.

This is an interesting new avenue for Shannon Hale, who brought us Enna Burning and Princess Academy, and it is her first collaboration with her husband Dean Hale on a major project.

Nathan Hale's rich, expressive, and colorful illustrations perfectly compliment the exciting and unpredictable text.