Rogers's devious William Shakespeare is back, this time as a mutinous midsummer fairy, in this cheeky mock-Elizabethan sequel to The Boy, the Bear, the Baron, the Bard. All the first book's key players, like a professional thespian troupe, assume new roles in this wordless romp, with the golden-hearted Bear in the starring role and the Bard again playing a dastardly villain. In small print that doesn't intrude on an otherwise uncaptioned graphic sequence, Rogers writes, "The last time I saw my friend the Bear he was adrift on the Thames River, about to vanish under the arches of old London Bridge." Readers next see the sleepy brown Bear drifting in his rowboat and bumping ashore in an idyllic grove. In a perfect fantasy transition, the Bear discovers a tunnel and emerges in a parallel forest where he is of Lilliputian dimensions. After nearly becoming lunch for a hungry songbird, he is rescued by a child with antennae and fluttering wings and taken to a fairy castle. However, a vile coup has been instigated by the Bard, a fairy courtier with antennae and wings too. The heroes are thrown in the dungeon with the betrayed fairy king but inevitably escape; in a furious slapstick battle, the Bear helps restore the throne, earning his Midsummer Knighthood. Rogers expertly composes the fast-paced comic panels, specializing in towering bird's-eye views of the fairy forest and in crowded rooms busy with over-the-top silly action. Readers need not know the original story, but it adds to the fun of this rambunctious silent comedy. Ages 6-9. (May)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
When last seen in The Boy, the Bear, the Baron, the Bard (Roaring Brook, 2004), the Bear was drifting alone down the Thames River. His journey takes a new twist in this wordless companion book when he lands at the edge of a wood and stumbles into a magical forest inspired by Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream . Here he is rescued from a free fall by a small fairy boy (readers of the first book will recognize him as the Boy, now sporting tiny wings). Soon the two find themselves in the midst of a palace intrigue, and they must work together to free the imprisoned fairy king and queen and defeat a villain before he can escape with the castle's gold. Other characters from the previous book reappear in new roles, including the Bard, now an arch fairy villain wearing a bumblebee-striped tunic. Comic-book panels interspersed with full-page spreads keep the chain of events clear and well paced. Pen and watercolor illustrations add to the lighthearted tone and provide ample detail of the setting and the characters' emotions. Literary allusions and deft use of perspective will appeal to sophisticated readers, while the younger set will enjoy the clear, straightforward story.
Suzanne Myers HaroldCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Another wordless, briskly paced escapade with a Shakespearean flavor (and cast) from the author of The Boy, the Bear, the Baron, the Bard (2004). Taking up where the previous episode leaves off, the action begins when a bear, dressed in a cape and morion, dashes through a door at the base of a huge tree, and finds himself in a fairy community that is being despoiled by a wasp-winged thug who bears a remarkable resemblance to a certain well-known playwright. Cast into the dungeon where the King and his red-haired Queen are being held, the bear engineers a breakout, and the stage is set for some colorful swordplay, much running about and a final setting-to-rights. Told as before in crowded but large and easy-to-follow sequential panels, the tale will delight even readers who don't catch all of the Elizabethan references. (Picture book. 6-9)