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Aida Paperback – October 15, 1997

4.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

There's no voice like that of opera singer Leontyne Price, and in this retelling of Aida, published in paperback for the first time, we discover that her writer's voice is equally moving. This tale of the Ethiopian princess-turned-slave, her soldier lover, and their inevitable tragedy is a favorite of Price, who reveals her feeling of sisterhood with the doomed Aida in the book's afterword. Price brings just enough distance to this story of love, jealousy, war, envy, and suicide to temper her passion. Telling the tale of Aida, one of the world's most famous--and tragic--operas, in appropriate language and tone is a task to which Price is more than equal.

From Publishers Weekly

This retelling of one of Verdi's most popular works suffers from the primary problem inherent in retelling any opera. Operas are composed, first and foremost, as musical works, and character motivation tends to be expressed in the music. While Price has faithfully outlined the opera's plot--the Ethiopian princess Aida's love for the Egyptian warrior Radames; the jealousy of Amneris, the Pharaoh's daughter; Radames's ultimate execution; and Aida's sacrifice--she does not provide a plausible rationale for their actions and, in the absence of Verdi's music, the story comes across as thin. Considered individually, the Dillons' paintings make dramatic tableaux, and taken together they form a stunning, unified whole. The art focuses on overall action, not individuals, and goes a very long way to illuminating the motivations lacking in Price's text. Even with minor reservations, this A ida is lavishly packaged and strikingly designed. All ages.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Voyager Books; Reprint edition (October 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152015469
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152015466
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 10 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,141,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Leontyne Price has presented us with a treasure in this book. It is a wonderful gift for any child -- or adult. It is told clearly and with beauty, strength and love. The illustrations are an especially wonderful companion to the story. Styled uniquely to the story they provide a gentle, beautiful flow which endlessly illumines the imagination. Although the ending is classically "tragic," this tale of love is presented in both word and pictures appropriate for any age child. My nearly two year old son loves to look at the pictures as I read to him and, I believe, enjoys the story as I "act" it out for him. Certainly, he asks for Aida often when we pick his bedtime story!
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Format: Hardcover
Leontyne Price's retelling of Aida is concise and beautifully illustrated. My three sixth grade classes loved the story, but my voice gave out in the repeated readings! I found the CD-Rom of Aida, which features Ms. Price's rich voice reading the text, along with musical excerpts from the opera. (Ms. Price sings Aida, Placido Domingo sings Radames.) Total playing time on the CD is 67:22. I expect this combination of beautiful story, music, illustrations, and singing will serve my students well as an introduction/exposure to opera.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this BEAUTIFULLY illustrated book a long time ago at a second hand book store (as an art nerd impulse buy), but never read it.
So last night my six year old daughter fished it out of her tub o' books for some bedtime reading, and we nestled up and gave it a go.

We both LOVED this book! Neither of us was familiar with this African fable of love, dueling princesses, and divided loyalties, but the telling of the tale by Leontyne Price was so brisk and emotional that it made the book a real page-turner. We were repeatedly pushed and pulled along by the narrative which we found alternately sad, inspiring, and frightening.

The hardworking illustrations by Leo and Diane Dillon contributed to the book's excellent design, making it perfect for reading with a child. Each spread has a complete scene and story beat in prose on the left page, with a 3 part hieroglyphic style comic that summarizes that page's narrative. A lush painting of the scene's most important moment dominates the right page of each spread. This design lead us along as we read through each scene and discussed the illustrations and how they enhance the story.
The highly stylized art, which is part Gustav Klimt and part Ernie Barnes, features costumes and character designs that feel real and mythical at the same time. The Egyptian and Ethiopian royals, soldiers and citizens are rendered with an authentic African dignity and glory.

The story is told in simple, poetic language that doesn't talk down to the audience, but did not leave my daughter behind. Again, looking at and discussing the illustrations gave us time to clarify the story (and obsess about what might happen next).
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By A Customer on June 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
Forbidden love, enemy captivity, and royal betrayal - Aida endures it all. This book is a talented interpretation of a beautiful tragedy composed by Giuseppe Verdi in the late 1800s. Children of all ages can now delight in the story of the Ethiopian Princess and the noble Egyptian warrior brought to life by the stunning illustrations of Leo and Diane Dillon, who were awarded the Caldecott medal for previous work in children's literature. This book captivated my imagination and heart because of its unique narrative perspective and intense passion with which the tale is told. Leontyne Price is the gifted performer who played the character of Aida for many years with much success. In the afterward of the book, Price describes the passion she had for her character. "In many ways," she says, "I believe Aida is a portrait of my inner self." That relationship with her character manifests itself in her telling of the story for children. Each scene is filled with the emotions and struggles of the young princess, with supporting dialogue and illustrations to enchant children and adults of all ages. The story introduces children to the two ancient cultures of Ethiopia and Egypt, while the illustrations help them to envision a time long, long ago. The relationships between a young girl, her father, her true love, and her country are depicted with emotion, struggle, and beauty by both the author and the illustrators. However, the most appealing aspect of this story is Aida herself. She is a strong woman of royal blood that holds her head high in the face of adversity and yet struggles to do right by all those she loves. She is a true heroine and children's literature must continue to produce such women for generations to come.
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Format: Hardcover
The combination of Leontyne Price as the storyteller and the Dillons as the artists makes this an outstanding book. I question recommending this book as appropriate for Ages 4-8. As an elementary teacher, I introduced this book to fourth,fifth, and sixth graders. They all liked it, but the sixth graders LOVED IT! Getting 12 year olds to tolerate a picture book is an achievement in itself. These sixth graders saw a love story, and really were spellbound when I read it to them. Playing some of the music and reading this story introduces children to the world of opera. Please buy this book for all ages; I have given it to many adult friends too!

,,
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