Kirkus Reviews QR Code


adapted by Anne Gatti & illustrated by Peter Malone

Age Range: 7 - 11

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-8118-1003-8
Publisher: Chronicle

 This retelling of Mozart's wonderful opera works particularly well for two reasons. First is the eye-catching appeal of Malone's illustrations, with their gorgeous theater-set qualities, fresco naturalness, and zesty characterizations. The second is that Gatti keeps tempo of the opera in her text, with pleasingly swift scene changes and quick character portraits. She neither simplifies the story, nor bevels its edges: Papageno might be there for light relief, Tamino and Pamina feel destined for one another despite their miscues, but good and evil often wear their opposite qualities, and the mother, disquietingly, is still the most evil of all; consider the scene outside the temple walls (Pamina: ``Oh, Mother, I don't know what to do! Please protect me.'' Queen of the Night: ``Protect you?''). An audio CD is included (with musical cues in the book); if everything pales before the music, readers will still sense how the opera's magic worked on Gatti and Malone, and gain an entry to the magic themselves. (Picture book. 7-11)