PreS-Gr. 2. Set in the late 1970s, in the age of long hair, this retelling by the creators of Cinderella: An Art Deco Story (2001) adds a dash of women's lib and groovy style to the familiar tale. Rapunzel lives in a decrepit apartment building with her evil Aunt Esme (a vicious school lunch worker), who must climb Rapunzel's braid because the elevator is broken. The prince is a local rock star, who after discovering Rapunzel, secretly spends happy afternoons with her, listening to albums. When Esme discovers the clandestine meetings, she lops off Rapunzel's hair, and separates the young people. The happy ending brings the couple together again, not as lovers, but as "best friends" (this is a chaste retelling), and independent Rapunzel sets up a wig business with the remains of her braid. Children may not catch all the 1970s in-jokes scattered among the wild, technically impressive ink-and-watercolor illustrations, but they'll delight in the expressive characters, engaging language, and humorous ties to the modern world. A winning version that will also appeal to high-school art students. ((Reviewed December 15, 2003)) Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Late 1970s and early 1980s fashion rules the day in this way-out fairy tale." Rapunzel, a stone fox decked out in a red-and-yellow-striped turtleneck, patchwork leather skirt and leg warmers, lives in a decrepit concrete high-rise with her Aunt Esme, a grody cafeteria lunch lady who bears a passing resemblance to Pink Flamingos' Divine. Esme forces Rapunzel to stay in the apartment, and rappels up and down the girl's long red braid of hair. One day, a slack-haired guitar player named Roger witnesses this strange ritual, "and trying his best to imitate Esme's booming voice, he called, `Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!' " and ascends to the balcony. Subsequent illustrations show him giving her a tambourine and strumming a guitar in her room, which is littered with Blondie and Joni Mitchell LPs and ABBA and Elton John posters. In one of the book's best retro moments, the couple hatches an escape plan. "I have a great idea!" says Rapunzel. "Why don't we make a rope ladder from all the scarves and belts I have?" The siblings behind Cinderella: An Art Deco Love Story pull out the visual stops in this retelling, which at its heart is true to the classic version. If young readers fail to grasp musical allusions to Aladdin Sane and The Who's Tommy, the stack-heeled shoes, ugly sweaters and banana-seat bike will be familiar enough thanks to the nostalgia mill. There's something here to amuse all ages; grown readers will laugh longest. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.