Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Prospero-like in their artistry, Spirin's dazzling watercolors dominate this retelling of Shakespeare's final play. Shaped like altar panels fit for a Renaissance church or palace, the illustrations are romantic, regal and magical, richly interpreting the play's themes of betrayal, revenge and all-conquering love. A wispy ethereal air pervades island scenes, beautifully suggesting the atmosphere of enchantment, while Antonio and the King of Naples are pictured in brocade and velvet, the stench of power upon them. The other characters, too, are both otherworldly and very much flesh and blood. Especially well rendered is the monster Caliban, shown here as part man, part beast, part mythical creature, a sense of evil glee lighting his features. While this prose adaptation does not, of course, retain the full magic of the Bard's work, Beneduce nonetheless provides an intelligent, gripping story. Several passages from Shakespeare introduced at key points give a taste of the original. Symbols and small pictures integrated into the text further enhance the lavish presentation. All ages. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Shakespeare comes to picture books beautifully when Ann Beneduce retells the complex story of The Tempest in a way that's understandable to children. She's helped by the very classic looking illustrations of Gennady Spirin, who captures the magic of spirits and beasts.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
The Tempest becomes accessible to children through the retelling skill of Bruce Coville and the glowing illustrations of Sanderson. This fairy tale of magic and love, demons and spirits, has much to attract today's children and to introduce them to the works of the master.
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
With clever interplay of original dialogue and adapted text, the bard's immortal work is here transformed into a charming "once-upon-a-time" tale. Purists might bemoan the deletion of lines, verses, even whole scenes, but no one can complain that the spirit of the play has not been faithfully transmitted. It has been transmitted with grace and elegance, moreover, and with an acute perception of a young reader's capabilities. Spirin's illustrations are exquisite.
Children's Literature - Rebecca Joseph
Shipwrecks, storms at sea, magicians, sorcerers, revenge, love, all these and more take place in Shakespeare's play The Tempest which John Escott brings to life for young people. Readers will come to understand Propsero, the former Duke of Milan, who was cast out to sea with his young daughter by Antonio. They arrived at a mysterious island filled with magical characters. Prospero causes a tempest that shipwrecks Antonio and his young son Ferdinand on the same island that has been Prospero and daughter Miranda's home. Through the pages of this beautiful adaptation, we watch Prospero take revenge, but in the end come to terms with his magic and those who had done him wrong. Accompanied with exquisite pictures of the different characters and the conflicts, The Tempest comes alive in this version.
VOYA - Roxy Ekstrom
This book is designed to help students read a play written in an English used 350 years ago-but the reader has to get to page 105 among the appendices to learn the book's intended audience. This information would have been more helpful as an introduction, instead of the offbeat one found here. The book's strength lies in its page-by-page notes that explain difficult words, archaic phrases, and historical/literary allusions. An occasional note may be more than the student wants, but most are useful without being dumbed-down. The notes are also helpfully placed alongside the text rather than at the bottom of the page, a feature students might like if they are not put off by the resultant double-column appearance.
While the notes should be useful to students at any grade level, the appended material, both introductory and supplementary, is marked by style and vocabulary making it suitable only for the most advanced and/or interested high school or undergraduate students. Among the appendices is a modern poem with no explanation for its inclusion, and no identification of the poet whose poem does allude to the The Tempest. One gets the impression of a mountain of unrelated three-by-five cards being used, with no effort to bridge them together. A long appendix titled "Classwork and Examination," which is a collection of very good ideas for teachers, is strangely addressed to students.
The cover features a fine color photograph of Sweden's Max Von Sydow as Prospero and Rudi Davies as Miranda, but one wonders if a picture of the young lovers or Caliban the monster would have been more appealing to young readers. Students could make good use of this book by ignoring most of the scholarly appendages and using the excellent footnotes to elucidate one of the most enjoyable of Shakespeare's profound works. Illus. Charts. Source Notes. Further Reading. Chronology. Appendix.
VOYA Codes: 2Q 2P S (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q, For the YA rea
School Library Journal
Gr 3 Up-The play is set circa 1610. Spirin expands Beneduce's retelling by basing his lavish watercolors on Italian Renaissance paintings. Though the pages are carefully framed, highly ornate, and formally structured, there is plenty of leeway for individual imagination to make itself felt. Ariel is a decorative Renaissance angel. Caliban is given piscine characteristics and expressions that evoke the longing as much as the brutishness in his character. And the human characters have the complexity of portraits. Spirin's illustrations highlight the fantastic while Ruth Sanderson's landscapes for Bruce Coville's version of the play (Doubleday, 1994) focus on the effects of nature. Both are valid. Coville's simpler retelling is easier to follow. Beneduce, too, eliminates some of the subplots in order to avoid confusion, but her fuller text manages to incorporate most of the romantic, magical, and political elements. Within the main text, she modernizes the dialogue. This works smoothly for the most part, though it's hard to see how "What a wonderful new world I am about to enter..." is an improvement over "O brave new world..." A few passages of original text are set off in isolated frames, for a sense of the poetry. Readers and potential playgoers will need to see the play performed to experience the comic scenes of Caliban and his cronies. Brief appendixes explain the context in which the play was written and the reteller's choices and give an overview of Shakespeare's life. This is a case in which an acceptably graceful text plays a supporting role to the illustrations. They are worth the price of admission.-Sally Margolis, formerly at Deerfield Public Library, IL
Beneduce (A Weekend With Winslow Homer, 1993, etc.) retells Shakespeare's play in a text that reads like a fairy tale.
This version emphasizes first the love story between Miranda and Ferdinand and then Prospero's forgiveness of his enemies. Some of the subplots have been eliminated (for reasons given in a careful author's note), but several songs and speeches have been folded into the story, much of which is told in dialogue. Spirin's beautiful watercolors are done in the manner of Renaissance paintings, even to the effect of old varnish affecting the tones. The scenes echo the narrative's focus on the enchantments of the play, presenting beasts worthy of Hieronymous Bosch and gentle spirits to rival the angels of Botticelli. This gorgeous picture book will be particularly useful in high school collections, for the story in the art sets the stage for this Renaissance drama. Recommended for public and school libraries: Not only does it work as a read-alone story but will prepare theatergoers for a performance of the full play.