These two retellings of G & S favorites are better than the garish illustrations would indicate, not good enough to please the faithful fans. The tales skip merrily along, incorporating verses from the songs and some dialogue, but the wit is largely lost. The attempt to lay the laughter on the line will be more successful in retrospect -- for those who know the operas first-hand -- than in prospect -- for those who are still to be exposed: it may seem monumental silliness to those who don't know how the silliness sounds. The illustrations are mostly highly detailed, slick and stylized -- literal to the point of being banal. Some introduction to G & S can be helpful, but a simple synopsis would serve the purpose until better books come along.