Hale, S., Hale, D., & Hale, N. (2008). Rapunzel’s Revenge. New York, NY: Bloomsbury USA.
Rapunzel spent her childhood in the beautiful villa of Mother Gothel. Unable to see the rest of the world because of high walls, she’s shocked when she finally escapes to the other side and finds the mother she’s always dreamed of in a matter of moments. Her anger leads her kidnapper, Mother Gothel, to imprison her in a tower in the woods. After much time, she finally is able to escape by using Gothel’s own growth magic against her. She then sets off on a whirlwind adventure with Jack (of Jack and the Beanstalk) complete with sea serpents, gun-toting gangsters, witches, and dwarves.
The art of Rapunzel’s Revenge is quite detailed from the beautiful villa of Gothel all the way to the final battle. It depicts various ethnicities throughout which is a wonderful addition, despite the Caucasian main characters. It added depth to the story and kept it moving with action scenes.
Setting this story in the Wild West was an interesting choice that gave more variety to this novel than most fairy tale reimaginings. This choice gave color to the language and tone of the story, and it was somewhat difficult to follow for those who are not as familiar with how cowboys might speak. However, the use of Rapunzel’s hair as a lasso was a brilliant choice both for the plot (as it facilitated her escape from the tower on her own rather than relying on a handsome prince) and as character development (as it was a way for her to bond with Mason before her imprisonment). It was a unique choice that paid off in action as the story unfolded.
Rapunzel’s self-reliance is a seemingly feminist choice that goes against the traditional tale. She frees herself from the tower, refuses help when it is offered by Jack, and when men do try to help, it ends in a mess (as seen when the first man she meets shoots her wild boar that she’d been riding). This is a brilliant choice for a book for children/teens today. It’s inspiring to see that not only is she able of handling things herself, but Jack comes to rely on her to save him. This is a great novel for some girl power moments.
From School Library Journal: “The dialogue is witty, the story is an enticing departure from the original, and the illustrations are magically fun and expressive. Knowing that there are more graphic novels to come from this writing team brings readers their own happily-ever-after.”
From Booklist: “This graphic novel retelling of the fairy-tale classic, set in a swashbuckling Wild West, puts action first and features some serious girl power in its spunky and strong heroine.”
-Have students write their own short graphic novels using fractured fairy tales
-Pair with other fractured fairy tales:
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Beastly by Alex Flynn
Wicked: Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
A Curse Dark As Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson
Entwined by Heather Dixon
Towering by Alex Flinn
-Pair with other strong female heroes in graphic novels:
Princeless by Jeremy Whitley
Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis