by Shannon and Dean Hale, ill. Nathan Hale (no relation)
Rapunzel lives a sheltered life within high fortress walls that surround the house she lives in with her mother, whom everyone calls Mother Gothel. One day, Rapunzel decides to scale the walls and sees that Mother Gothel has used her magical green thumb to control the land and make the villagers slaves for her coal mines. Rapunzel discovers that Gothel stole her from her birth mom when she was a baby and sent her mom to work in the mines. When Rapunzel demands to be reunited with her real mom and refuses Mother Gothel’s offer to inherit the family business, Gothel locks her up in an enchanted tower of a tree. As the tree continues to grow, so does Rapunzel’s hair. She uses her lasso skills and her long braided hair to rescue herself from the tree and begins a wild west adventure to undo Mother Gothel’s evil deeds and rescue her birth mother from the mines.
The only negative thing I can say about this book is that it raised my expectations for other cracked fairy tales. I was incredibly disappointed with Tangled after having read this. Thankfully, there’s a sequel: Calamity Jack, which focuses on Jack’s backstory. I can’t stress enough how much I love this comic. Strong female main character, positive First Nations secondary character, incredibly clever writing, and good consistent drawings make this story stand out as one of the best books for kids I’ve picked up in the last few years.
Anyone who liked Jeff Smith’s Bone series will enjoy the humour and adventure of this story, and it’s a good one for those who love cracked fairy tales. Kids enjoy this book, but I also recommend it to adults who are interested in comics and appreciate a good parable about unchecked capitalism.