Reviews for Rapunzel : A Groovy Fairy Tale


Booklist Reviews 2003 December #2
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

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2004 Spring
Evil lunch lady Esme locks her naive niece Rapunzel in the top floor of a desolate apartment building. When schoolboy Roger introduces Rapunzel to the hip outside world, Esme nearly foils their friendship. The updated retelling is a bit overlong, but the loosely rendered ilustrations, featuring 1970s accoutrements (Rubik's cubes, vinyl records) alongside fairy-tale images (spiders, crows), offer lots of details to pore over. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2003 September #2
Having found an audience-an adult one, at least-for Cinderella: An Art Deco Love Story (2001), the Roberts sibs put a differently styled, but equally stylish twist on another folktale romance. Every day while her evil Aunt Esme is off being the Lunch Lady from hell, young Rapunzel stays locked in a top-floor apartment, listening to Bowie and Blondie LPs by a lava lamp's light. Until, that is, Roger, lead guitarist in a high-school band, spots Aunt Esme leaving for work down Rapunzel's long red braid. The illustrator outfits the young folk in bell bottoms and platform shoes, filling out the backdrops with period posters and other details. The author follows the original plotline, at least in general, but eases up on the end, so that Roger just suffers temporary amnesia rather than being blinded by his long fall, and after the lovers are reunited at a rock concert, Rapunzel becomes an accomplished designer of (red) wigs. Those under 30 may miss many of the cultural references, but even in this fractured form it's good to see the classic tale stayin' alive, stayin' alive. (illustrator's note) (Picture book/folktale. 8-10, adult) Copyright Kirkus 2003 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2003 August #3
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.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2003 November
K-Gr 2-A (relatively) modern take on the folktale. Rapunzel's awful Aunt Esme keeps her locked on the top floor of an abandoned apartment building. The elevator is broken, so when the woman returns from a hard day working at the local school as the world's meanest lunch lady, she hauls herself upstairs via Rapunzel's long, red braid. Roger, the intrepid singer in the school band, discovers Esme's secret and begins visiting the girl regularly, bringing glimpses of the outside world. When Esme discovers the friends' secret, she cuts Rapunzel's braid and turns her out on the street, setting unsuspecting Roger up for an amnesia-inducing fall. The two are, of course, reunited by tale's end, and Rapunzel begins a new career as a wig maker. The book's "groovy" title indicates its late-'70s setting, but the text is free of gratuitous (and to young children, incomprehensible) slang. The reteller relates her plot in simple language, trusting the illustrator to create the `70s feel with his pen-and-ink-embellished watercolor paintings. Adults who remember the period will be amused by the lava lamp, John Travolta poster, and pogo stick; children will likely focus on the cartoonish expressions of wide-eyed Rapunzel and devilish Aunt Esme. Although the quality of writing and illustration ranks this book above sheer novelty purchase, it is unlikely to stand the test of time as well as an ABBA tune.-Eve Ortega, Cypress Library, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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