Twice Upon a Time: Rapunzel, The One with All the Hair by Wendy Mass, paperback novel, 205 pages, published by Scholastic Inc. in 2006.
Rapunzel is an ordinary girl turning twelve when a witch arrives at her home and whisks her away as payment for a deal made with Rapunzel’s parents before she was born. The witch locks Rapunzel in a tall tower in the middle of the forest. The room is bare, there is no door, and the only window is so far from the ground she would probably die in the fall, and Rapunzel is all alone.
Prince Benjamin is also trapped, not physically, but by the constraints of being heir to the throne and all the responsibility that comes with it. His father wants him to act more like a man and begin his king training, while his mother is somewhat over protective, and doesn’t even let him visit the nearby village. Benjamin’s cousin, Prince Elkin, comes to stay with them frequently, and he often tries to get Benjamin into trouble. The two of them set out on an adventure for a horde of treasure guarded by a troll, but they find something completely different. And in the process Prince Benjamin finds a tall and solitary tower in the forest.
This is another book in Wendy Mass’s Twice Upon a Time series, in which old fairytales are retold in a new and refreshing way. Following both the side of Rapunzel and that of Prince Benjamin, this version of the old tale is interesting and different. The characters are well written and likable, with faults and quirks, giving them a sense of realism. There were parts of this story that made me laugh too. I enjoyed this book very much.
I have given this book to my second grader to read, and though she is only at the start, she already likes it. Most suited to middle and upper primary school children to read independently, younger children may also enjoy having this story read to or with them. A wonderful twist on an old tale.