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Moby- Dick (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – July 2, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5 Up-Opening with the classic line, "Call me Ishmael," the narrator's New England accent adds a touch of authenticity to this sometimes melodramatic presentation. The St. Charles Players do a credible job on the major roles, but some of the group responses, such as "Aye, aye Captain," sound more comic than serious. This adaptation retains a good measure of Melville's dialogue and key passages which afford listeners a vivid connection with the lengthy novel. Background music and appropriate sound effects enhance the telling of the story about Captain Ahab's obsessive pursuit of the malevolent white whale. The cassettes are clearly marked, and running times are noted on each side of the tapes. Announcements at the beginning of each side and a subtle chime signal at the end make it easy to follow the story, but a stereo player must be used to hear some dialogue. The lightweight cardboard package is inadequate for circulation. Done in a radio theatre format, the recording does a nice job of introducing the deeper themes of the book and covering the major events. For school libraries that support an American literature curriculum, this recording offers a different interpretation of an enduring classic.
Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library. Rocky Hill, CT
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From Library Journal
November 14 marks the 150th anniversary of Melville's salty saga of vengeance and obsession. Now a contender for the great American novel, this book was harpooned at the time of its 1851 publication by critics who found it overly long and boorish (observations no doubt still shared by countless high school students). They felt that like Ahab, the story didn't have much of a leg to stand on. The once lucrative whaling industry also was in its death throes and of little interest to readers. The book was forgotten for decades before being rediscovered in the 1920s by scholars who understood and appreciated the multilevel symbolism and allegory dismissed by their 19th-century predecessors. Melville published little after the failure of Moby-Dick and made his living as a customs inspector in New York City, where he was born in 1819 and died in complete obscurity in 1891. He is buried in the Bronx. This edition of his masterwork includes the full text along with illustrations of whales, whaling barks, and whaling instruments; maps; and a new introduction by Nathaniel Philbrick. A lot for the price.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
To be clear, if you've read this, you've hardly read Moby-Dick. You'll miss a ton, and quite a bit more than less shortened Classic Starts I've read like Tom Sawyer, The Jungle Book, and The Call of the Wild. I suppose those other original authors were not as commanding in their use of English as Melville should be regarded.
The story is nearly gutted of all the Christian and biblical references, allusion and innuendo. Because of this, character development is very shallow. Because Moby-Dick is a first-person narrative, it has the effect of the reader not really getting to know the protagonist narrator very well, and also of reducing his thoughts and observations of other characters to very cursory ones.
In the end, it's still at least as good as the average chapter book written to be read to kindergarteners, and it retells a story that has some substance that an adult reader can enjoy (if they've read Moby Dick). I guess it's kind of like reading a children's version of a bible story -- not the full monty but worthy and if you know more, you might even find yourself inspired to augment it with a little more of the truth.
My preschool aged kids enjoyed the story. They created artwork based on the story out of their own initiative, played "whale" in the community pool, and understood allusions and metaphor to princple themes in the story like the blindedness of Ahab's foolish, vengeful wrath.
The only way to go wrong here is if this story somehow prevented someone from reading the original when they were later able.
One of my very favorite books of all time and this Easton Press edition showed me just what a finely crafted leather-bound masterpiece could be. The ribbed leather cover is exquisite, the cloth backing on the inside of the front and back cover luxurious, and the archival quality paper is nothing short of extraordinary. The publisher chose illustrations by a talented artist to help bring the story alive, and a typeset was specifically selected that would be most appropriate for this work. The result is a fine piece of craftsmanship that draws my respect as I sit by the fire, experiencing the wonderful sensation of holding such a finely crafted work in my hands while I read this incredible piece of literature.