This production of Romeo and Juliet featuring Kenneth Branagh and Sir John Gielgud is a superb contribution to the field of classics on cassette. The stunning performance by the Renaissance Theatre Company captures all the color and emotion of Shakespeare's eloquent tragedy of young love. With Samantha Bond as Juliet, Derek Jacobi as Mercutio, and Judi Dench as Nurse, the play, which is set in 16th-century Verona, contains some of the most passionate dialog ever written. An excellent musical score by Patrick Doyle accompanies the actors, as well as a full array of authentic sound effects. The pounding of hooves, the chiming of church bells, and the clashing of angry swords enrich this outstanding listening experience. A 24-page booklet complete with sketches and photos of the actors, a synopsis of the play, and background information is included in the package. Highly recommended for most libraries.-Gretchen Browne, Rockville Centre P.L., N.Y.
Gr 5-7-These comic adaptations of literary classics seek "to entertain and educate young minds" with literature not generally read by today's young people. They are extensively abridged and retold in contemporary language. Each title includes a biographical sketch of the author and introduces approximately five main characters with illustrations. Back matter includes extension activities and historical information. Rendered in a pastel palette, Don Quixote offers more action and dialogue than the other titles and retains some of Cervantes's original humor. The art includes good use of foreshortening and point of view. Angled panels reinforce the windmill duel. King Solomon's Mines uses a vibrant color palette. Images often seem redundant-merely illustrating the text-rather than adding new insights. Many of the more violent scenarios are not depicted. For example, readers never see the origin of the knife wound shown later in the story. Kidnapped presents panels heavily outlined in black that appear stiff and formal, often having little connection to the sequential action of the story. The book lacks character animation, story pacing, and depiction of action. Adaptations of The Merchant of Venice and Romeo and Juliet rely on abbreviated retellings of the basic plots, eliminating any of the original poetic language. The classic art style features somewhat rigid characters, displaying little emotion.-Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.