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The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth Paperback – September 30, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—With its gruesome murders, Macbeth might not seem the most obvious of Shakespeare's plays to be adapted into a children's graphic novel, but by placing the play as a story within a story, Lender and Giallongo make it work. The animals of Stratford Zoo are putting on a show— specifically Macbeth—starring the lion as the play's titular hero and featuring a hyena and a cast of other animals to fill out the ranks. A sanitized version of the drama is told while the animal audience makes quips, provides commentary, and hides from the zookeeper. Naturally, a child-friendly, zoo animal-filled version of the tragic play wanders a great deal from the original. The additions and changes (such as Macbeth eating the king with copious amounts of ketchup) serve to make the tale and the entire graphic novel a comic affair that will appeal to younger readers. All of the violence is offstage and only hinted at, not depicted, in keeping with the younger audience envisioned for this book. The artwork is bright and cartoonish, with an appealing mix of panel sizes to keep the story moving, emphasize key points, and allow for amusing little details for readers to find. Perhaps the greatest missed opportunity is that only a few times do the animal thespians use lines from the original Shakespeare and these times are not marked as such. Other than that flaw, here is a delightful introduction to the Bard's work that won't overwhelm young readers.—Elizabeth Nicolai, Anchorage Public Library, AK --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“. . . a wonderfully accessible, engaging, and kid-friendly adaptation of the Shakespeare classic.” ―Booklist
“. . . a comic affair that will appeal to younger readers.” ―School Library Journal
“*As the zookeeper locks the gates to the Stratford Zoo, the animals are just beginning to set up for their evening performance of Macbeth . . . Those too young to appreciate the original play will certainly grasp this cleverly anthropomorphized, lushly envisioned graphic romp.” ―Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
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Top Customer Reviews
The story is just plain fun, with bits and pieces of Shakespeare thrown in for good effect. The play is presented, with an intermission when the zookeeper walks her rounds. There’s audience commentary and heckling. There are panels and splash pages, and the colors are bright and engaging. I loved this book, and can’t wait to get it on my shelves. It’s a great addition to any graphic novel collection, and for children’s service librarians like myself, a great way to expand our graphic novel sections. Using Shakespeare’s story, and including quotes and scenarios is perfect for teachers looking for a way to incorporate some fun into their Common Core ELA lesson plans.
This kid-friendly retelling of Macbeth is vibrant and funny. Artist Zack Giallongo (BROXO) delivers bright art with creative use of panels and frequent side gags. Author Ian Lendler distills Macbeth to its essence and adds a bit of ketchup. The frame story, of the other animals reacting to the play, inject some humor to the tragedy, which is a great way to keep the younger audience interested.
Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's greatest plays and THE STRATFORD ZOO MIDNIGHT REVUE PRESENTS MACBETH does it plenty of justice, even if it is an irreverent take. All of the famous moments are translated, even though the page count is quite lean.
I thought THE STRATFORD ZOO MIDNIGHT REVUE PRESENTS MACBETH was absolutely hilarious and charming. I certainly hope it is the beginning of a series of graphic adaptations of Shakespeare. It's a crowded field, but this effort stands out.
This is not your traditional performance of Macbeth; really, "The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents: Macbeth" is unlike any version I’ve ever encountered before. And I mean that in the best way possible; this clever little retelling is funny and imaginative, and the illustrations really make it sparkle. This graphic novel would be a fantastic way to introduce a younger audience to this classic story, but adults are sure to enjoy every page too.
Review originally published on "San Francisco Book Review."