From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 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, Inc.
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. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved