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Children's LiteratureThe phantom of the Opera was written in 1910 by Gaston Leroux who was inspired to tell the story of a disfigured masked musical genius who lived beneath the Paris Opera House and tried to win the love of a beautiful opera singer through his own love of music. Author Donnelly has adapted this classic story for young readers through the use of dialogue and nineteen distinct chapters that move the story along. The beginning chapter is entitled "Is It the Ghost?" It introduces the mysterious figure whom witnesses say inhabits the Opera House. In this case, six young girls of the ballet are frightened by a phantom that appears in black evening clothes and then disappears as soon as he is seen. In the second chapter entitled "The New Opera Star," the reader is introduced to Christine Daae, the girl who will become the Phantom's object of love. In the audience that night, another man named Raoul is captivated by Christine's voice. He goes to her dressing room to meet her, but Christine is exhausted from singing and sends him away. Raoul listens at the door and hears a man speaking. He had just been in there and had seen no one. In the following chapters, the mystery continues. Raoul is determined to find out to whom Christine has been speaking and why she seems to be so drained after singing her heart out on stage. The story continues, filled with secrets, mysterious appearances and disappearances. Raoul will not be satisfied until he saves Christine from the spell the Phantom of the Opera has woven around her. Christine is drawn to this man who lives beneath the Opera House and inspires her to sing as she has never done before. The men battle for the heart and soul of beautiful Christine. Thisis an easy-to-read version of a classic love story that has been made into movies and plays. Included are clear, sharp, black and white illustrations. 2005, ABDO Publishing Company, Ages 10 to 12.
—Della A. Yannuzzi