A wonderful prose retelling of Scott Joplin's opera, set in Arkansas in the 1880s, in three acts brimming with dancing, preaching, and hustling. Medearis (Too Much Talk, p. 1434, etc.) includes colorful dialogue and actual songs and rhymes from the opera. She gives the big numbers a flair and pitches the rich characterizations perfectly. That said, she narrates the libretto as a short story, pounding some theatrical moments into basic exposition--a minor criticism. The colored pencil and watercolor pictures--big and small, sometimes taking up a whole page, sometimes stuck in a comer, wherever there's room--are all detail and color. The large cast, in 19th-century garb and wearing exaggerated expressions, never lets readers forget this is an opera. Lively; the long text is a pleasure to read out loud.