Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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.)
This production of Romeo and Juliet featuring Kenneth Branagh and Sir John Gielgud is a superb contribution to the field of classics on cassette. The stunning performance by the Renaissance Theatre Company captures all the color and emotion of Shakespeare's eloquent tragedy of young love. With Samantha Bond as Juliet, Derek Jacobi as Mercutio, and Judi Dench as Nurse, the play, which is set in 16th-century Verona, contains some of the most passionate dialog ever written. An excellent musical score by Patrick Doyle accompanies the actors, as well as a full array of authentic sound effects. The pounding of hooves, the chiming of church bells, and the clashing of angry swords enrich this outstanding listening experience. A 24-page booklet complete with sketches and photos of the actors, a synopsis of the play, and background information is included in the package. Highly recommended for most libraries.-Gretchen Browne, Rockville Centre P.L., N.Y.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-7--Macbeth has strong appeal for young audiences and Coville's lucid retelling captures much of it. Aided by the short, intense, and uninterrupted story line of the play, the reteller deftly weaves many of the most familiar quotes with his own dramatic narrative. In a short preface that sketches a quick history of the play's popularity, Coville invokes cultural literacy as one of his missions. Despite this heavy burden, he carries off the telling with grace. Kelley's dark, evocative pastels reflect and intensify the ominous mood. Glowering hillsides, gloomy interiors, the handsome and doomed Macbeths, and truly ghastly witches create a mood worthy of the play. The only unfortunate image is the weak-chinned Macbeth reacting to Banquo's ghost with a look more comic than horrified. Darkness prevails until the final painting of light morning skies over the hills. Coville's muscular sentences, full of dramatic word choices, make this a good read-aloud choice. While not avoiding the horrors in the story, the reteller does not dwell on the goriest moments, letting the worst, such as the slaughtering of Macduff's children, happen offstage. The accurate depiction of the story will give older students or casual playgoers a good quick review. If it doesn't end up lost among the picture books, this retelling could have many uses.--Sally Margolis, formerly at Deerfield Public Library, IL
Directors Welles, Nunn, and Polanski, and actors Garrick, Siddons, Olivier, and McKellen, are among those mentioned in an analysis of stage and screen productions of Macbeth. After a brief survey of earlier productions, focuses on the 20th century. Includes a few stills and drawings. distributed by St. Martin's. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Read an Excerpt
This book is written in Spanish. Macbeth es una de las grandes tragedias de William Shakespeare (1564-1616). Macbeth, el gran general del ej�rcito del rey de Escocia, regresa victorioso despu�s de una campa�a de apaciguamiento cuando sucumbe a la tentaci�n del poder. Desde entonces un mundo tenebroso y m�gico, de apariciones y desconfianzas, sembrar� de cr�menes la pac�fica vida de los escoceses hasta que Macbeth muere como hab�an viticinado las brujas.