Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale

I have to admit- I am not a graphic novel reader. Sure, I will read one, but it’s never my first choice. I think it’s because I read so fast and I tend to skip the pictures to get to the words, and then I have to go back to the pictures. It just slows down my normal reading pace. However, I was absolutely thrilled when I received an ARC of Rapunzel’s Revenge from the publisher. I read it in one sitting last night and can not wait to pass it on to my students. What a phenomenal story!

First, let’s begin with the size. The ARC is 7 1/2 x 10 7/8.  It’s bigger than your average book and it serves the illustrations well.  Nathan Hale’s (no relation to the authors) illustrations are just gorgeous.  I am not a “picture person” when it comes to books, hence my tendency to avoid graphic novels.  However, Nathan Hale forced me to linger over each and every panel!  The illustrations are beautiful and there is just so much going on in every one!

As for the story, WOW!  First of all, I so admire people who can co-write.  I can barely manage to write on my own, and coupled with the fact that I am a control freak, I can’t imagine writing with someone.  However, Shannon and Dean have crafted a fantastic fairy tale re-telling of Rapunzel’s story.  A much, much better story than the first time around!  The story is in direct contradiction to the original in many parts, but that’s what makes it so great.  Rapunzel is strong, witty, and smart.  No damsels in distress in this fairy tale!  The world she lives in is a mix of the Wild West and a fairy tale world.  Sounds crazy, right?  It works. And it works great!

This is going to be the perfect graphic novel for reluctant readers, fairy tale lovers, readers who love fairy tale retellings, and anyone who loves books that make you laugh out loud.  I can not wait to pass this one onto my students.  I can already foresee the fight that will break out over who gets to read it first.  And second.  And third.  And so on!

Into the Wild

I picked up Sarah Beth Durst’s debut novel a few days ago at Barnes and Noble. I will be perfectly honest and admit that I am a covergirl- any book with an interesting cover usually ends up in my shopping bag. Durst’s cover is gorgeous! I love the pinks, purples, and silvers. I also love the silhouettes of the main characters on the front. Plus, if you slide the cover off, the actual book is purple! How cool is that?

On to the book. I loved it! I will admit that I was hesitant at first. I like fairy tale retellings but they can get redundant. I was afraid that “Into the Wild” would suffer this same fate. Boy, was I wrong! Julie is your average 12-year old girl. She is annoyed/embarassed by her mom, wants to be accepted at school, and more than anything she wants to be normal. Sounds like most of my 6th grade students. Julie’s problem is that her mother is Rapunzel. Yup, that Rapunzel. See, it turns out Julie’s mom helped the fairy tale characters we all know and love escape from the Wild, or fairy tale world. It turns out, “happily ever after” is not all it’s cracked up to be. Now, Julie has the Wild living under her bed. That is, until it manages to escape because someone makes a wish at the wishing well. Suddenly, the Wild has taken over and everyone is sucked into its tales.

What an interesting and novel way of looking at fairy tales! I actually put the book down and pondered the idea that we take “happily ever after” for granted. The fairy tale characters are doomed to repeat their stories over and over again. Happily ever after just means they go back to the beginning and start again. Stories never end. Ok, fine if you are a hero or heroine. Not so fine if you are a victim in the story!

I really enjoyed this book and I can see the girls in my class passing it around come September. It’s modern, it’s hip, and it’s nostalgic. Who hasn’t wanted to be the princess in a fairy tale? Who hasn’t wanted their own Prince Charming? Sarah Beth Durst shows us the other side of the fairy tale coin. I look forward to any more works from her!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,796 other followers