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Rapunzel's Revenge

Updated on January 9, 2013

A lively and independent graphic novel that drops Rapunzel into the Wild Fairytale West!

Rapunzel's Revenge is a fantastic graphic novel I picked up on a field-trip earlier this year. A cheerful, fun, and beatutifully illustrated fairytale-western take on the old Rapunzel story, this graphic novel is a great gift for anyone between eight and eighty. I was lucky enough to find it on sale recently and now have my very own copy!

In this version of Rapunzel, she's been stolen by a witch alright - old Mother Gothel, who's a cruel tyrant in desolate landscape, keeping power over the realm with her unnatural growth magic. Little Rapunzel grows up thinking Mother Gothel is her real mother - until she climbs up the great wall one day and sees the slaves and deadlands on the other side.

By sheer chance, her real mother is fetching water in the long dreary queue - and they speak, and realise who the other is, and are cruelly separated. Her real mother remains a slave, condemned to the mines, and Mother Gothel sends Rapunzel off in the care of brutish Brute, to a tall, tall, tower-like tree, in a forest far away...

Rate it, if you dare... - How good was Rapunzel's Revenge?

Rapunzel's Revenge
Rapunzel's Revenge

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Rapunzel's Revenge was nominated for the 2009 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Tweens/Teens

(But lost to Neil Gaiman's Coraline)

Rapunzel's Revenge - Buy it from Amazon!

A lively and entertaining take on the old Rapunzel story, with a fiery and practical protagonist with a heart of gold, and her sidekick and his goose with... well, that would be telling!

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Publication Date: August 2008

Hardcover: 144 pages

Rapunzel's Revenge
Rapunzel's Revenge

Once upon a time, in a land you only think you know, lived a little girl and her mother . . . or the woman she thought was her mother.

Every day, when the little girl played in her pretty garden, she grew more curious about what lay on the other side of the garden wall . . . a rather enormous garden wall.

And every year, as she grew older, things seemed weirder and weirder, until the day she finally climbed to the top of the wall and looked over into the mines and desert beyond.

Newbery Honor-winning author Shannon Hale teams up with husband Dean Hale and brilliant artist Nathan Hale (no relation) to bring readers a swashbuckling and hilarious twist on the classic story as you've never seen it before. Watch as Rapunzel and her amazing hair team up with Jack (of beanstalk fame) to gallop around the wild and western landscape, changing lives, righting wrongs, and bringing joy to every soul they encounter. [Amazon write-up]

Rapunzel reading her three books, while trapped in the tower-tree
Rapunzel reading her three books, while trapped in the tower-tree

And there she stays, for years, growing up and sending cursewords Mother Gothel's way. Her hair growing unnaturally long, because of the abundance of growth magic in the tree and she has to file down her nails everyday. With only three books to read, and her hair to play with (and 'play with' of course, means : skipping rope, swinging from the tree branches, using it as a lasso...)

Mother Gothel talks to Rapunzel
Mother Gothel talks to Rapunzel

And one day, Mother Gothel grows tired of waiting for her to repent and be a good girl, and the tree windows start closing up for good...

Jack tries to persuade Rapunzel to use her 'feminine wiles' to distract some bandits
Jack tries to persuade Rapunzel to use her 'feminine wiles' to distract some bandits

Rapunzel escapes, of course, is chased by a giant warthog, meets and quickly parts ways with a rich 'rincely landowner, out to take advantage of an innocent and lovely girl; and wanders into the set of an old western, looking for food. Enter a lively figure in a pink dress and bonnet, goose clasped under his arm - Jack, the thief, who ends up on the run with Punzie (as he nicknames her) and together they travel through Gothel's Reach back to Mother Gothel.

Along the way, they end up on wanted posters, fight off starving coyotes and bandits, befriend various unusual folks and Punzie turns out to be awfully proficient at doing pretty much anything with her hair...

The best line ever:

So, uh, you all been professional fishers long?

(Jack, to the Duggers... watching them try and hit fish in the shallows with pickaxes)

Have You Read Rapunzel's Revenge? - Write a review, add a comment, or debate someone who disagrees with you.

What did you think?

Is Disney's Tangled Based On Rapunzel's Revenge? - Similarities between the stories: hair-lassooing heroine, lovable rogue thief and Mother Gothel?

Because I read Rapunzel's Revenge shortly before Tangled started being hyped up, all I could see were the similarities! And Disney is pretty well known for stealing other people's storylines (e.g. The Lion King, Shrek). And I'm not the only one to think so.

So let's have a quick look at the evidence...

Both have a Rapunzel character, who is the heroine, after being locked in a tower and has long hair.

Pretty standard Rapunzel story

Both Rapunzels use their hair to swing from and lassoo things and carry it looped around themselves.

More similar, but there's really not many other things you can do with hair. The Disney version doesn't braid it, and her hair is all golden and flowing - this is probably due to the main stated influence of The Swing painting.

Disney's Rapunzel is pretty and pink, and blonde and a princess. Shannon Hale's Rapunzel is freckled and rehaired and cowboyish, although she is raised as a princess (or equivalent) she ends up with no actual status.

Hard to say. Most of the attraction of Rapunzel's Revenge is the character of Rapunzel, but Disney does tend to pretty things up. They are nothing alike, really, based on externalities.

Personality - both innocent of the world, righteous, and 'good'.

Expected to be naive after being locked up, Can't really say about the Disney version for sure yet, but she looks more simple... I mean, childlike and happy, than the Rapunzel's Revenge version, who is stubborn and heroic.

Both are referred to as 'Punzie' by the thief/love interest.

Eh, only so many ways you can shorten 'Rapunzel'. Although I did like the book Zel

Both have a Mother Gothel and end up on the run from her.

Actually, this is accurate to the original Grimm version (well... the best known, not the original). Mother Gothel means 'Godmother' in German. The personalities look similar, and both play the 'absent evil and controlling nemesis' for much of the storyline. The [Disney version of Mother Gothel, while also a witch, is young and sexy for most of the film, and very much a loner.

And obviously, once one escapes a tower, one spends a lot of effort trying to keep out of it.

Both have a thief/lovable rogue love interest/companion.

Rapunzel's Revenge DID have a real prince - she passes him after getting out of her tower and doesn't get on! But the real 'prince' of the story was Jack. And Flynn Rider has a lot in common with Jack - both are thieves, both cocky - although Flynn Rider looks more obnoxious. Hard to say, here.

Stolen for different reasons

Disney have apparently abandoned the original 'pregnant cravings and theft' story. Either it just didn't make sense for a Queen to be stealing food, or the food stolen gave Rapunzel her magic.


Disney's Rapunzel has magical hair that restores youth, Hale's Rapunzel doesn't, her hair grows due to the amount of growth magic in her giant tree tower.

Timing of book/film: Disney's film came after Rapunzel's Revenge was published and successful.

Possible, not conclusive in any way. Could have indicated to someone that 'now is the time for Rapunzel'.

Do you think Disney's Tangled was based on Rapunzel's Revenge?

Rapunzel's Revenge is a collaboration between Shannon, Dean and Nathan Hale!

Rapunzel's Revenge - cover image
Rapunzel's Revenge - cover image

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Postscript of utmost importance

If you buy any of the books recommended above, this page automatically makes a donation to the incredible nonprofit, Donors Choose, which helps provide classrooms and students in need with resources that our public schools often lack.

Comments - Do you think you'd enjoy Rapunzel's Revenge?

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    • DreamsBloom profile image


      7 years ago

      I went to high school with Nathan Hale (the illustrator) and his (now) wife Mindy. He is amazingly talented and it was fun seeing his illustrations for this book (I checked it out from the library). Mindy actually knitted a Rapunzel's Revenge wig that was shown on the Today Show too ('cause she's talented at well). I definitely recommend the book for the illustrations as well as the story.

    • carny profile image


      8 years ago

      The art in the excerpts you posted looks great. Maybe I should get this novel :)

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image


      8 years ago

      My first Squidlit lense that I've read and did enjoy it. Thanks for showing me this new version of Squidoo!


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