- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 - 9
- Lexile Measure: 830L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 114 pages
- Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; First edition (October 1, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0152058052
- ISBN-13: 978-0152058050
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,972,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Cyrano Hardcover – October 1, 2006
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From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up–McCaughrean retells the classic tale in accessible language that is both entertaining and tender. Cyrano de Bergerac has panache, a fact that is evidenced both by the ever-present white plume in his hat and by his swagger. He is a man of action, a soldier, a man of letters, and a hopeless romantic. The one flaw is his enormous nose. Cyrano is hopelessly in love with his cousin Roxane; however, her heart belongs to another. Through intrigue and subterfuge, he is able to express his feelings toward her by words and letters. The story has something for everyone–action, adventure, and romance. The dynamically drawn characters jump off the page. Staying true to Edmond Rostand's original tale, McCaughrean introduces a new generation to the swashbuckling hero. This is an easy read and should be considered as a first purchase.–Sharon Morrison, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Durant, OK
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* With a beautiful mix of swashbuckling action, witty insult, passionate love, and heartbreaking melancholy, British Carnegie Medalist McCaughrean retells the story of the classic French play about Cyrano de Bergerac. A champion swordsman and brilliant sardonic wit, he is a celebrity in Paris society and on the battlefield, the epitome of panache with his swagger and irreverence. But all his life he has loved his beautiful young cousin, Roxanne, and she cannot see beyond his ugly face with its huge nose. So Cyrano writes eloquent love letters to her, which he gives to Christian, a young, handsome soldier, and, of course, Roxanne falls in love with what she thinks is Christian's soul. Although Cyrano's brash invective is hilarious--not only about the society fops and his powerful, pompous enemies but also about his "sundial" face ("When you have a cold, monsieur, Belgium floods!")--his passionate letters are heartbreaking. The timeless love story, tenderly told in plain poetry, will thrill teens, especially those who want an irreverent hero with panache and integrity. Great for readers' theater and for reading aloud. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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It's a bit unfair to accuse McCaughrean of being unable to write clearly and effectively. And she is doing more here than merely supplying character tags to Rostand's dialogue.
When Cyrano hears Rozane make her confession that she would love an ugly man if he was as fine as Christian, McCaughrean doesn't just let Cyrano react. She spells out every one of his interior feelings in a way that no dramatist could. "There was a crack," she writes (at first I thought his nose was going to crack, like his heart, and fall off), "there was a crack, as if some planet on the far outskirts of the universe had broken open and spilled its golden yolk down the alleyways of space." Rather an elaborate science fiction metaphor there, but this emphasizes how people in the Middle Ages believed in the Sun revolving around the earth and being more or less like an egg, filled with white and yolk.
"Cyrano did not know," continues McCaughrean, "whether he had heard it inside or outside his head." She's got a real thing for inside and outside and the boundaries between the two states, more porous than in many other writers for children, but that's how children see things, slipping between one state and another. It's no wonder that she was chosen to write the official sequel to PETER PAN, even though a superios sequel (PETER PAN AND THE ONLY CHILDREN) is already in print, written by UK postmodernist Gilbert Adair.
"His pupils contracted," writes McCaughrean, "and he could not clearly see." I submit that she is doing more here than merely reproducing the beloved dialogue of Rostand's play. For better or worse, she is remaking the characters in her own likeness, and she's cute.
Cyrano is a swashbuckling poet with an enormous nose. He has a wonderful sense of humor, which comes in handy when he is so often teased about his nose. Cyrano falls in love with his cousin, the beautiful Roxanne. Somehow or other, Cyrano ends up wooing Roxanne for another man.
The prose is rather abrupt, although funny. My real problem with the book is that it is only a simplification of Edmond Rostand's play. Nothing more, no twists or alternate views. There is no creativity, no originality--just a paraphrase of Rostand's play. Why waste your time reading this when you could read the real thing? Rostand's play is not a literary challenge.
If you don't like reading plays for whatever reason, I would recommend this book. Otherwise, it's sad that someone can get published by copying somebody elses work.
Be sure to read about the real Cyrano de Bergerac. He's an intriguing historical figure!