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Children's LiteratureWhat a marvelously varied collection of plays to be produced by professionals for young theatergoers! Start with the introduction—a conversation between the editor, a renowned children's theater educator at the University of Texas, and Peter Brosius, artistic director of an active regional theater—to get an idea of the exhilarating possibilities inherent in children's theater. Then explore the plays in the collection, intended for audiences of all ages; outstanding for younger playgoers is Two Donuts in English and Spanish, touched with Guatemalan magic. For older children, the playwrights have adapted the work of respected children's authors like Roald Dahl (The Witches), Katherine Paterson (The Great Gilly Hopkins), Elizabeth George Speare (The Witch of Blackbird Pond), and for everyone, Dr. Seuss's romp with the Grinch as he steals Christmas. Jennings has included an unusual realistic play of his own (written with Lola Jennings), set in nineteenth-century France where the young Louis Braille opens windows for the blind with his tactile alphabet. The most fascinating dramas may be those based on folklore—for example, Inuk and the Sun, drawing on Inuit tradition, and The Wolf and Its Shadows, using mythology and legends about that mysterious, elusive creature—all involving production challenges with staging, lighting, masks, or puppets. Producers and directors are sure to find here at least one script that will spark imaginations and ignite a future production. Just remember to heed the editor's oft-repeated warning: always obtain permission and pay appropriate fees to the publisher before the first rehearsal begins. 2005, St.Martin's, Ages 18 up.
—Barbara L. Talcroft