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Henry IV, Part Two
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William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was a poet, playwright, and actor who is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers in the history of the English language. Often referred to as the Bard of Avon, Shakespeare's vast body of work includes comedic, tragic, and historical plays; poems; and 154 sonnets. His dramatic works have been translated into every major language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

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Gr 7 Up-In these additions to the series, characters are introduced with full-color illustrations accompanied by a play quotation revealing the essence of each cast member. Both adaptations use excerpts from Shakespeare's words paired with black-and-white art to dramatize the action. Although the books are categorized as manga, pages are read from front to back, left to right. Caesar is set in a contemporary world filled with cell phones and motorcycles. The artist's imagery, such as the serpent in Brutus's home and the puppets in Cassius's hands, adds depth and layers of meaning to the text. Stage directions, noted in boxes at the top of panels, help readers to follow the story. While the style of artwork appears "busy" for manga, the artist's rendition of faces accurately captures each character's feelings in this emotionally charged adaptation. Macbeth is set in a postapocalyptic world, with crumbling cities, alien beings who serve as "witches," and men with Charles Atlas-like bodies. Bold, dynamic male figures reinforce the notion of mutations in both body and emotion. The setting introduces some anachronisms. Sophisticated communication devices seem at odds with armor-clad riders carrying swords and traveling on horseback. Although segments of well-known speeches are included, the abridgment seems choppy. Numerous, briefly introduced characters and abrupt scene changes make it difficult to follow the story line. However, readers familiar with the play may appreciate this futuristic adaptation.-Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

The latest in Yale's "Annotated Shakespeare" series are two of the old boy's greatest hits. Besides the scholarly texts, these include lists of suggested further reading, essays, and more. Fab for the price. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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