Gr 5-7-These comic adaptations of literary classics seek "to entertain and educate young minds" with literature not generally read by today's young people. They are extensively abridged and retold in contemporary language. Each title includes a biographical sketch of the author and introduces approximately five main characters with illustrations. Back matter includes extension activities and historical information. Rendered in a pastel palette, Don Quixote offers more action and dialogue than the other titles and retains some of Cervantes's original humor. The art includes good use of foreshortening and point of view. Angled panels reinforce the windmill duel. King Solomon's Mines uses a vibrant color palette. Images often seem redundant-merely illustrating the text-rather than adding new insights. Many of the more violent scenarios are not depicted. For example, readers never see the origin of the knife wound shown later in the story. Kidnapped presents panels heavily outlined in black that appear stiff and formal, often having little connection to the sequential action of the story. The book lacks character animation, story pacing, and depiction of action. Adaptations of The Merchant of Venice and Romeo and Juliet rely on abbreviated retellings of the basic plots, eliminating any of the original poetic language. The classic art style features somewhat rigid characters, displaying little emotion.-Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
The new "Sourcebooks Shakespeare" series is designed to attract a wide audience by emphasizing performance as well as text. A glossary and photos from contemporary stage and film productions accompany the text of each play, and related essays offer further insights. Each title contains an integrated audio CD that is narrated by British Shakespearean actor Sir Derek Jacobi and features excerpts from memorable performances of key scenes. The series boasts stellar credits: its advisory board includes Shakespeare scholars David Bevington and Peter Holland and Chicago Shakespeare Theater director Barbara Gaines. Among the contributors are several more Shakespeare scholars as well as actress Janet Suzman and Andrew Wade, formerly head of voice for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Both volumes begin with Thomas Garvey's "In Shakespeare's `Time,' " an essay that sets the playwright in historical context, and end with "The Cast Speaks," in which casts of 2005 productions discuss their approach to the characters they portrayed. The CD accompanying the Othello volume features a variety of noteworthy performers in the title role, including Paul Robeson, Paul Scofield, and Edwin Booth; and the CD accompanying the Romeo and Juliet volume presents recordings of Kate Beckinsale, Dame Peggy Ashcroft, and Ellen Terry as Juliet; Kenneth Branagh and Michael Sheen as Romeo; Sir Derek Jacobi as Mercutio; and Sir John Gielgud as Friar Laurence. With the number of film adaptations of Shakespeare's works in recent years, public libraries should seriously consider acquiring this series.-Carolyn M. Mulac, Chicago P.L. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.