Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
Based on an HBO animated series, these condensations emphasize the dramatic content of some of Shakespeare's best known works. As abridged by Garfield in consultation with a panel of scholars, the books on the whole retain the magic of Shakespeare's vision and remain true to his poetics. Linguistic fluidity is perforce sacrificed (omitted lines are presented as italicized summaries interspersed throughout the dialogue), but these versions should still fire children's imaginations. Though the artwork varies in quality, the Eastern European illustrators generally capture the underlying theatrics. Palettes are subdued for the dramas, and appropriately brighter for the comedies (though the tone reproductions frequently seem off). Several plays' illustrations have a cartoony appearance; a few exhibit the stilted look of old Classics Comics. While the plays forgo their complexities--many subplots are omitted--as they become more linear in their themes (Macbeth loses much of his humanity, Romeo and Juliet is pared of its politics), their nobility shines through in these visualized introductions. One hopes that readers will be encouraged to move on to the originals. Ages 10-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
Gr 5-8-These visually appealing, full-color adaptations introduce each title with a well-known quotation from the original work on an illustrated spread that captures the mood and setting of the piece. The stories are retold in panels with text containing an explanation of the characters' motives and a summary of the action taking place positioned beneath each panel. Brief snippets of quotations are enclosed within a few simple speech bubbles. Actual wording from the original works is very limited. Headings at the top of the spreads distill the plot essentials contained on those two pages. Macbeth uses extensive footnotes on each page to define and clarify Shakespearean language. Dramatic outdoor scenes are done in vivid colors, contrasting with night scenes rendered in gray tones. Unique features include historical information on the real King Macbeth and theatrical superstitions associated with what many actors consider an "unlucky play." A somber palette of grays and muted colors sets the mood for Frankenstein. Back matter includes a map of Europe marking the travels of Frankenstein and a chronology of medical and scientific discoveries between the years of 1747 and 1834. These titles might be useful to introduce classics to young readers in a formalized instructional setting.-Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kliman (Nassau Community College) begins with an informative survey of 17th- and 18th-century stage history of Macbeth, then closely examines a handful of 20th-century stage, television, and film productions, some protagonist-dominated (Lawrence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, Maurice Evans and Judith Anderson, Eric Porter and Janet Suzman, Nicol Williamson and Jane Lapotaire), others director-dominated and with a larger societal vision (Orson Welles's ^D ' Macbeth, Trevor Nunn's ^D ' version, and Roman Polanski's notorious gory, nude one). Kliman rightly recognizes that "every great Lady Macbeth, every Macbeth, has to be measured against [Sarah Siddons's] performances, " and she provides some fine analysis of the Lady Macbeths, from the fierce and forceful Siddons to the victimized Francesca Annis in Polanski's film. This book, in a series intended to assist class discussion at the high school and college levels, provides an abundance of material to whet the creative and critical appetites of students, teachers, actors, and all others who share an interest in Shakespeare on the stage. The illustrations are few and uninspired, the bibliography substantial. A pity that the characters in the play are not listed in the index. All collections. J. Ellis formerly, Mount Holyoke College
Horn Book Review
Featuring abridged versions of the Shakespearian texts, with abundant illustrations and frequent, but unobtrusive, descriptions of action and setting, these volumes present six of Shakespeare's best-known tales in an accessible format, while maintaining much of their original impact and style. Each book includes a brief introduction to Shakespeare's life and theater. Based on the cable television series. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.