Pamela Duncan Edwards, Leah Wilcox, , illus. by Lydia Monks. . Putnam, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23794-2

"Once upon a bad hair day,/ A prince rode up Rapunzel's way," opens Wilcox's debut book, offering a slight if agreeably silly take on the classic tale. In rhymed couplets of varying cleverness, the author relates a tale of miscommunication. The prince hears Rapunzel's whine (she is "upset her hair had lost its shine") and mistakes it for a plea (after which he "sallied forth to set her free"). The misunderstandings mount: when the royal asks her to throw down her hair, the heroine instead tosses him gaily colored underwear; a request for her "curly locks" brings a deluge of dirty socks; and hearing that he wants some twine, she heaves out her "blue-ribbon swine." Monks (The Cat Barked? ) conveys the addled antics in whimsical art, rendered in an engaging mix of acrylic paint, collage and colored pencil. Among the kid-tickling images is a view of the stunned prince covered with pancake batter (which comes flying out of the tower when he asks if the lass has a ladder). Many youngsters may giggle at the wordplay (as well as the concluding twist), but the joke is pretty much a one-noter. Ages 4-9. (Dec.)