Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale Illustrated by Nathan Hale

Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale Illustrated by Nathan Hale

This graphic novel is a fractured fairytale written for about age ten plus. I really like the setting. It is in a fairytale west with dwarf miners, native american villagers, settlers, and magic. The magic has to do with growth so there are giant snakes and boars. The color illustrations are quite striking. The illustrations look like they are from the American civil war period except for in full color.

The content is entirely appropriate for a younger audience. The jokes in the story are light and funny. There are references to other tales if you look closely. There is a jackalope, a giant boar, and Mother Goethel could be a reference to Mother Goose.

Rapunzel is being raised by Mother Goethel who has seized control of the countryside with magic by causing the farmlands to dry up and taking over the mines with her thugs. She learns Goethel is not her real mother. Rapunzel's real mother is being forced to work in the mines. Goethel imprisons Rapunzel in a magic tree, but Rapunzel escapes using her long braids.

Thus begins a silly and wondrous adventure where Rapunzel meets up with Jack the trickster and they conspire to free Rapunzel's mother. Various adventures ensue in a manner which seems to combine the American tall tales and traditional fairytales. Rapunzel uses her hair to lasso a giant snake, as a whip to knock pistols from bandits hands, and defeat a pack of coyotes. Jack helps her out by tricking her enemies and finally using his last magic bean. Jack looks native american which is a nice touch. Rapunzel has a kind of Pippi Longstocking look with her bright red braids.

A fun and colorful adventure in an unusual setting. The artwork is quite pretty to look at. The story is an excellent fracturing and retelling of a traditional fairytale in a new setting. The cover immediately catches your attention with Rapunzel in a cowgirl outfit spinning her braids and Jack riding a horse. I find the setting to be very unusual. I would have a hard time categorizing this tale. The closest thing which I can think to compare this graphic novel to is Castle Waiting by Linda Medley which is another fairytale graphic novel. Rapunzel's Revenge is a light read. I've already read it twice this asternoon.

Shannon Hale has a website with some other writing that looks interesting.

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