Take a popular fairy tale, modernize it and make the princess a sassy lass who refuses to let her hair down, and you have a nifty fairy-tale twist with a library message.
“On the sixteenth floor of a tall tower block / sat Rapunzel, quite idle, whilst growing her locks.” The milkman calls up, “The lift is not working, the stairs are too steep / my asthma is bad and my heart is too weak.” But Rapunzel refuses to let down her hair for him or the postman, the baker, her aunt and even the prince! She just sits passively, so each visitor goes away. Worried that they are neglecting her due to their reluctance to climb 15 flights of stairs, the troupe gathers together and soldiers up to the 16th floor to cook Rapunzel supper and deliver a letter. “Rapunzel leapt up and shouted with glee: / ‘I’ve got a new job at the library!’ ” So begins her love affair with library books and the discovery that “there’s more to life than growing your hair!” (The question of how she gathered the wherewithal to apply for the job is not addressed.) The bouncy illustrations match the whimsy. Rapunzel’s hair is wildly curly and red; the prince arrives on a scooter wearing a helmet, black goatee and shades; the cast is multiethnic. The rhymes give lilt to the tale. (Two British terms, “lift” and “spanner,” are used for elevator and wrench, but this doesn’t get in the way of the fun.)
There’s plenty of hair flair and fun, if not quite so much logic. (Picture book. 5-8)