Sunday, January 2, 2011

Rapunzel's Revenge - Shannon and Dean Hale

Summary:  Once upon a time, in a land you only think you know, lived a little girl and her mother...or the person she THOUGHT was her mother.

Every day, when the girl played in her grand villa and lush garden, she grew more curious about what lay on the other side of the ridiculously huge garden wall.  Year after year, things just seemed weirder and weirder, until the day she finally manged to sneak over the top of the wall and was horrified to see what lay beyond...

Newberry 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.  Watch as Rapunzel and her amazing hair, along with a mysterious outlaw named Jack, gallop around the wild and Western landscape, battling creatures and outrageous villains, righting wrongs, and changing their world forever.  (Summary from cover jacket and image from

My Review:    I typically don't enjoy graphic novels.  I see the appeal for struggling readers or for those who aren't drawn to print the way we here at Reading for Sanity are.  I find the pictures, glossed over thoughts and emotions of the characters, and the way the plot is forced along--because having too much dialogue negates the purpose of a graphic novel--by action to make the book feel watered down.  That is my opinion of graphic novels in general.  I prefer not to read into every 'hmph' and 'oof' the characters use to make the pictures come alive.

That said, I actually read this graphic novel fairly quickly.  The plot, although rushed because of the format, was intriguing.  Swashbuckling is a pretty good adjective for the mood this book evokes.  I was curious to see this new world that Hale had created and elaborated from the classic tale.  I found it interesting to take the smaller town feel that the classic story had and enlarge it to a grand scale encompassing an entire country.  It made the antagonist that much more sinister.  There were other aspects I enjoyed as well: the can-do girl attitude, the shaking off the old stereotype of a damsel in distress, and throwing in a Western theme.  After reading the story I wondered if Hale had recently watched the musical Into The Woods because she combined two fairy tales to make the plot a bit more complex.  (Into The Woods combines many, but this felt similar.)

This was a fun, girl-empowering story with a great message of doing what is right, even if no one else is doing it.  It wasn't my favorite format for reading a story, but it would be great for my classroom.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Sum it up:  A new and Western take on an old classic fairy tale with an empowering girls message.

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