Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale, 144 pages
graphic novel illustrated by Dean Hale
genre challenge: western; herding cats
What a fabulous book! Shannon Hale does a wonderful job of rewriting fairy tales (The Goose Girl, The Princess Academy, The Book of a Thousand Days) and she continues here with the more well known Rapunzel. But what if Rapunzel lived in the American west? And her long hair could be used like a lasso? Exactly, a pretty awesome idea and very well executed. There are some other fairy tales thrown in here for the reader to recognize. I really liked the idea of making this set in the west, with horse stealing, mining, wanted posters, wild coyotes, and ghost towns.
The illustrations by Nathan Hale are also fabulous. I found them very colourful, and crisp, and textured. Rapunzel's red hair ropes stand out perfectly. I also liked how Rapunzel was brave and smart - this was no maiden in distress waiting to be saved by the prince. She takes charge and knows what she has to do.
My only quibble was a line on page 85, where Rapunzel teases Jack, her companion on the run, with, "Adorable, huh? Pretty fruity talk for an outlaw." In school, we try to discourage insults like fruit, or gay because it carries so much more than just that word, and is not inclusive. There must have been another word to use in that situation. But other than that, I very much enjoyed this telling of Rapunzel, both the western telling, and the beautiful illustrations.