From School Library Journal
Grade 5-12-- These three plays have been skillfully abridged by Garfield. His method is to retain Shakespeare's own language but to trim and cut either by giving only the early lines of longer passages, by editing scenes that involve secondary characters, or by cutting some scenes altogether. Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night's Dream stand up well. All of the well-known lines and most of the poetry have been saved. Romeo and Juliet is more truncated, but even here not only the basic plot but also the sense of urgency of the two young people's love has been preserved. Unlike the prose retellings of the stories by Charles and Mary Lamb, Marchette Chute, and Bernard Miles, these are shortened versions of the plays themselves, complete with stage directions and waiting to be performed. Fortunate the students whose teachers are willing to become producers. Based on "The Animated Tales as seen on HBO," there are lots of watercolor cartoon sketches throughout, which adds to the appeal for children. Each book begins with a short piece about the theatre in Shakespeare's time, about William Shakespeare, and about the play itself. Companion videos are available (Random House). --Ann Stell, Central Islip Public Library, NY
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