Gr 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 Cahners Business Information.
In a sense, this work is the piece de resistance of the textual revolution in American scholarship of the past generation. The first half is the final MLA ``Approved Text'' of the classic novel, prepared under the auspices of the Center for Editions of American Authors. The second half consists of an Historical Note detailing background, genetic composition, publication, and ensuing critical reception; a discussion of its textual history; and some relevant marginalia. The work is not only thorough and rigorous, but, considering the scholarly grittiness of the endeavor, surprisingly lucid and graceful in its exposition. Highly recommended for special collections. Earl Rovit, City Coll., CUNY
The great white resurfaces in this gripping, comic book-style retelling. Comic-strip veterans Schwartz and Giordano condense Melville's leviathan tale into an action-packed, 48-page adventure. Despite forgoing Melville's "Call me Ishmael" first-person narrative and sensory details, this retelling closely adheres to the original plot, including some pivotal scenes absent from Allan Drummond's spare but entertaining 1997 Moby Dick. The dense story clips along, thanks to concise but appealingly hammy storytelling and melodramatic drawings, plus multiple panels that quicken the pace. When Ishmael meets Queequeg, for instance, the author squeezes out every drop of suspense: "There in the dimly lit room looms the forbidding image of Queequeg... harpoon at the ready, poised to sink its sharp head into his shaking body!!" Giordano ratchets up the tension with a series of close-ups of Ishmael's terrified face as he awakens to the "savage" in his rented room. The brooding, dark-toned panels exude imminent danger-an ideal milieu for Captain Ahab's doomed voyage. The book also provides a brief biography of Melville, as well as facts about whaling and New Bedford, Mass., the city that commissioned this retelling in celebration of the 150th anniversary (in 2001) of Moby Dick's original publication. Ages 8-up. (Oct.)