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WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S THE TEMPEST by Marianna Mayer

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S THE TEMPEST

By Marianna Mayer (Adaptor) , Lynn Bywaters (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-8118-5054-4
Publisher: Chronicle

“O wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world that has such people in’t!” There’s little of wonder, and less of Shakespeare, however, in this leaden picture-book adaptation of the famous romance. Mayer gets the skeleton of the plot down accurately enough, but in so doing, she leaches from it the vitality that makes it an enduring theatrical favorite. In presenting what should be a dynamic, language-rich experience in such static fashion, the adapter is forced to interpolate boatloads of information, telling the reader what, by rights, players would show an audience. The result is such turgid prose as, “In truth, the sensitive young girl saw past his handsome face and courtly manner to something deeper and more endearing that captured her heart.” Bywaters’s jewel-toned Renaissance-inspired gouaches are pretty enough, but cannot rescue the whole from wrack and ruin. This offering does both play and readers a disservice, by introducing the former to the latter with such a reduced and pallid incarnation. Full fathom five ought this to lie. (Picture book. 6-10)