From Publishers Weekly
"It is an ancient Mariner, and he stoppeth one of thee...." Although these ominous lines perennially instill fear of final exams and term papers in the minds of high school students and Romantic English majors, they're not often remembered by adults. Mason's reading of Coleridge's 1796 epic poem is at once hypnotic and stirring. The Academy Award-nominated actor reads the chilling tale involving clashes with sea monsters, a boat swarming with zombies and a dice game with Death in an authoritative English accent. Like the ocean surrounding the Mariner's ship, his voice ebbs and flows with the imaginative poem's various heights. He quickly rattles off, "water, water, every where, and all the boards did shrink; Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink" but gently whispers "And I had done an hellish thing, and it would work `em woe: For all averred, I had killed the bird that made the breeze to blow." Coleridge (1772-1834), uses words to make the fantastical believable, and here, Mason brings those words vividly to life. A bonus track features Mason's animated reading of The Hunting of the Snark, an eight-canto poem by Lewis Carroll.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grade 4 Up-- One of the classic poems of the romantic period of English literature has been illustrated with charcoal drawings and full-color, full-page pastel seascapes by Young. Coleridge's masterpiece has much to recommend it to a modern audience because of its central theme of the importance of ``all things both great and small;'' also, the mysterious supernatural events, the skeleton ship, and the zombie crew are occult touches that will appeal to many young readers. However, Coleridge's 18th-century rhymes and references make difficult reading and, although the marginal asides are helpful, much of the religious structure of the poem and many of the archaic words remain obscure. Although they may admire Young's dramatic pictures and will certainly enjoy the rich format of the book, few 20th-century readers will persevere unaided through all seven parts of this work of penitence. Its primary audience is adults who wish to preserve and use a recognized piece of English literature by reading it aloud to a new generation of young people. --Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.