This is a modern take on the Rapunzel story: the tower is an inner city block and Rapunzel is a bored teenager. She has plenty of visitors: a baker, postman, milkman, her aunt and uncle all trying to tempt her out of her lethargy. But Rapunzel is bored. Nothing interests her, not even a prince with a goatee beard, shades and leathers shows up on a scooter. It is only when she finally opens a letter from the library with a job offer that her life changes and she discovers a wealth of opportunity and never-ending stimulation. How the job came about is left for the reader to speculate.
This is a feminist story which challenges the traditional view that princesses are simply waiting to be rescued from their pointless lives. It’s also a celebration of libraries with all they can offer in providing challenge, meaning and fulfilment (books are more important than looks).
The text is patterned with a memorable rhythm though at times the rhyme feels a little forced and risks detracting from an otherwise excellent picture book.
The illustrations are wonderful: lively and appealing, reflecting Rapunzel’s changing moods and the feelings of other characters very well. There is a high level of detail providing plenty for children to discover, particularly about the other inhabitants of Rapunzel’s tower block. The ethnic diversity of modern city life is effectively conveyed through the representation of the cast of characters.