Reviews for Romeo and Juliet

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Each Shakespearean play is retold as a short story with a condensed plot and thin characterizations, and Shakespeare?s language is completely missing. Still, those seeking accessible summaries of the plays may find the books in this series a good place to start, and the black-and-white and color illustrations--delicate for Romeo and Juliet and cartoonish for Twelfth Night--are nicely suited to each volume. [Review covers these Shakespeare Collection titles: Much Ado about Nothing, Twelth Night, Antony and Cleopatra, and Romeo and Juliet.] (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal
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Gr 3-5-In each of these slim volumes, one of William Shakespeare's tragedies is retold. The prose is straightforward and easy to read and tells each basic story. The color and black-and-white cartoons support the texts and there is a pictorial character list at the beginning of each book. With so much happening in so few pages, these are action-packed retellings. While they may be useful as an introduction to Shakespeare, it's questionable whether they translate into an interest in reading the rich and profound drama of the originals.-Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal
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Another cool book-and-disc combo, these editions of the bard's beloveds offer the full illustrated text with an audio CD sporting numerous key scenes. A great idea. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Western literature's most famous love story is retold in conversational prose, with brief excerpts from the play incorporated and highlighted in red type. A master colorist, Zwerger's full-page jewel-toned watercolors are sparely drafted, allowing the reader's imagination to fill in details, even as spot art of dying roses foreshadow the conclusion. A final spread ponders an alternate ending for the couple. (c) Copyright 2017. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Gr. 4-7. Delicate, romantic ink-and-watercolor illustrations in the style of some famous Renaissance artists accompany Kindermann's retelling of Shakespeare's eternally popular play about the passionate young lovers doomed by their families' feud. Close-ups of the main characters are set against sepia-tone crowd scenes showing the lovers meeting at the ball and the rivals fighting on the streets. The moonlit balcony scene is a cool gray blue, as is the illustration of Romeo finding Juliet's body. Although the book was translated twice, first from Elizabethan English into German, then into contemporary English, the simple prose is eloquent, and many of the play's famous lines are interwoven in the telling and printed in italics. True to the original drama, this version is a fine introduction for children. Older readers preparing for a theater visit might want it, too. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2006 Booklist


School Library Journal
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Gr 7-10-A lively, teen-friendly book with all the basics, plenty of additional information, and appealing color photos and illustrations. Some knitting experience would serve crafters well, although the introduction is encouraging to newcomers. Topics include reading a yarn label, colors, needles and other tools, reading patterns, mistakes, and more. Various hues are used for the large typeface headings, and individual creativity is encouraged for projects. A few DIY inserts are interspersed throughout, such as a page on hosting a knitting party. Items to make include a faux fur stole, a ponytail roll-brim hat, leg warmers, and a lacy double-diamond scarf. All are accompanied by a color photo of a teen model and the completed garment. Back matter includes lists of yarn companies, online knitting and craft resources, magazines, books, online organizations, and "Meet the Designers" (readers can ask questions directly, online).-Augusta R. Malvagno, Queens Borough Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

This hypertext version includes the full text of the play, 24 color video performances (40+ minutes), 20 minutes of video analysis and commentary by actress Judith Annozine and Shakespeare scholar Gary Taylor, plus easily accessible glosses, summaries, and paraphrases. The performances (by US Shakespearean actors) were shot on location in Verona, Padua, and Mantua. Eight MB of free RAM are required to install the video software. Screen layout is logical and easy to follow, and colors are relatively crisp. Moving through the hypertext is easy. "Pages" turn promptly and, once turned, leaf back and forth rapidly. After selecting an act of the play from the main menu, the reader proceeds through all scenes in that act; the program then reverts to the menu for selection of the next, or another, act. A 30-second introduction explains how to use the text. A passage highlighted in blue yields a paraphrase (in red) when the cursor is placed on that passage. Text underlined in red signals a video clip, which can be accessed by the video icon at the beginning of the passage. Each speech prefix includes a facial icon of the character; clicking on the icon produces a brief character sketch. Other icons relate to puns, foreshadowing, risqu^D'e jokes, or confession. Other menu features point to paraphrase, summary, or commentary. Sound effects of a projector accompany the video clips and rustling pages the digitalized "page turning." Although this is an excellent product, it has some problems, particularly with the video clips. The video clip window is too small; the coverage is unbalanced--approximately 600 lines are performed: Juliet (257 lines), Friar Lawrence (151), the Nurse (88), Romeo (84), Mercutio (0); the musical background is sometimes too loud; and the sound is slightly out of sync (but distracting only in face shots). In addition, the textual glosses are presented as "modern paraphrases" (fair is glossed "cute") and are sometimes inconsistent (mattock is glossed in different places as "hatchet" and as "crowbar," and Romeo's comment that Juliet must think him an "old" murderer is not glossed). This reviewer would prefer not to hear a chiding "Nasty!" when clicking the icon for the explication of a bawdy line. And one might challenge some editorial content (Benvolio's facial icon suggests that Benvolio is lovesick for Romeo). But all in all this product is a joy to experience, easy to install and use, and appropriate for all undergraduates in both mediated and end-user applications.


School Library Journal
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Gr 4-8-This timeless tale is retold in clear prose interspersed with quoted dialogue, italicized for easy identification. The well-known elements are here: the feuding families; the love-at-first-sight encounter of the protagonists; their passionate-if-short-lived romance; and the reconciliation brought about by the teens' tragic deaths. Although the text generally flows smoothly, there are problems. Romeo's bemoaning his unrequited love of Rosaline is never mentioned, eliminating the whole premise of him easily transferring his passion from one girl to another. While the language generally suggests the poetry of the original verse, (e.g., "she knew the breath of love"), some of the phrases are oversimplified or too modern in tone. For example, a hotheaded Tybalt mutters, "Just you wait-.You'll pay for this." Later, when Romeo confesses his feelings for Juliet to Friar Laurence, the priest never attempts to urge him to go slowly, as he does in Shakespeare's play. Set in a wash of sepia tones that suggest the rich colors of old Verona, Unzner's watercolor-and-pen illustrations are well executed; however, her technique of overlaying subsidiary characters in penned sketches gives the artwork a somewhat cluttered and unfinished appearance. Furthermore, the quotes that are incorporated into the pictures are often difficult to read and distracting. While Kindermann's accessible version will appeal to a younger and less sophisticated audience than Bruce Coville's version (Dial, 1999), it will not replace his exquisite retelling.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 9 Up-These full-text editions of the plays have clear, thoughtful annotations. Both volumes begin with the same good introductory essay about Shakespeare's life and times and include an essay that gives a voice coach's perspective on the Bard. What truly distinguishes these titles from other books, however, is the emphasis on the plays in performance. Each volume includes a discussion of a famous production and an analysis of the play in popular culture, as well as a section entitled "The Cast Speaks," which contains interviews with actors and actresses from modern productions who share their ideas about the characters and their motivations. Black-and-white photographs from contemporary stage productions and movie adaptations of each play are included. The really exciting feature of these editions is the audio CD that features recordings of famous actors such as Kenneth Branagh, Paul Robeson, and Kate Beckinsale performing scenes. The CDs include multiple readings of the same scene by different performers, which would be extremely useful for instructors who want their students to think about differing interpretations of the lines, as well as for instructors who would simply like their students to hear Shakespeare spoken by actors who have had training in speaking blank verse. Good purchases for schools in which these plays are a part of the curriculum.-Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
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Zwerger crafts a lovely and contemplative staging of Romeo and Juliet. Brief excerpts from the play introduce sections of original and readily accessible prose: "Friar Laurence was rather surprised to find that Romeo had changed his mind so soon, and was in love with someone else. Could this end well?" Zwerger's uncluttered illustrations, rendered in muted jewel tones and delineated with sharp edges, give the effect of peering into private moments not meant to be shared or seen. Spot illustrations of dying roses foreshadow the coming tragedy, yet Zwerger ponders a different ending in a closing note ("Might the story have taken a different turn?"), picturing Romeo and Juliet riding away together on horseback. Ages 5-7. (Oct.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal
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Gr 5-8-Skillfully read by Claire Higgins, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet will hold listeners spellbound as they become involved in the feud between the Capulets and the Montagues and in Romeo and Juliet's plight of love. Higgins' reading is very natural, and her voice is exceedingly pleasant to listen to. The cassette includes a plot summary, an introduction to Shakespeare by Leon Garfield, as well as supplementary information about Shakespeare and his writings by Dr. Rex Gibson, all read by Simon Russell Beale. This additional information is very worthwhile and will increase the listener's understanding of Shakespeare and why he continues to be important in literature. Peter Hutchins arranged the period background music. The technical qualities are excellent, and the teaching objectives are met. This program is appropriate for individual or group listening, and the additional information will provide an excellent springboard for discussion. A superior acquisition for both public and school libraries with audio collections.-Kathy Dummer, Newcastle Middle School, WY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Targeting novice readers of Shakespeare, "The Sourcebooks Shakespeare" series presents the Bard's plays as a ground for lively debate and discussion. Each release includes a general introduction; the text of the play itself; a series of essays on the play, written by scholars who eschew technical vocabulary; and an audio CD of various performers reading selected scenes and speeches from the play. In the case of the Othello volume the recordings include rare gems performed by Paul Robeson and F. Scott Fitzgerald; the Romeo and Juliet CD features performances by Joseph Fiennes, Claire Bloom, Albert Finney, Judi Dench, and Fiona Shaw. The text of both plays is presented in an appealing font size with lots of blank space surrounding the dialogue. Notes occupy a facing page, and they are helpful without being overwhelming. Scenes or speeches performed on the CD are marked with a text box that indicates how to locate the track. Neither volume clarifies how the editors arrived at "the text," which will be a drawback to teachers who want to engage students with questions of textual bibliography. Photos of past productions aim to help students visualize the scenes. With all this helpful commentary, however, student readers have little need to project the text imaginatively. For example, in narrating the Othello CD, Sir Derek Jacobi prefaces most tracks with a summary of the scene to follow and frames each with an interpretation. The quality of these two volumes differs somewhat. In happy contrast to the edition of Othello, the essays in the Romeo and Juliet volume do not lose sight of the fact that the play text requires active, critical reading. Facsimile pages from promptbooks of famous productions, e.g., J.P. Kemble's 1814 mounting of the play, point the reader to directors' revisions of the play as they produce it. Those with limited background in reading early modern plays will appreciate this very "friendly" Shakespeare series. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates; secondary students; general readers. M. A. Bushman Illinois Wesleyan University


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

See Voice-over, p.1870.


School Library Journal
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Gr 4-6-Shakespeare's immortal lovers are brought to life for tweens in this illustrated adaptation of the classic drama. Zwerger's text follows the original plot faithfully, and Bell's translation flows smoothly. Brief quotations from the original are interspersed throughout. The language is handled with delicacy, and the word choice is suited to the intended audience (this version downplays the tale's violence and lust without doing a disservice to the story). Watercolor illustrations in Zwerger's distinctive style are the real star of the book, though they do not grace every page. In one case (the death of Mercutio), an illustration falls on the page turn before the events depicted are described. A brief epilogue offers an alternate ending for those who are disappointed by the lovers' tragic demise. VERDICT Purchase where there is a demand for adaptations of Shakespeare's works.-Misti Tidman, Licking County Library, Newark, OH Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

The new "Sourcebooks Shakespeare" series is designed to attract a wide audience by emphasizing performance as well as text. A glossary and photos from contemporary stage and film productions accompany the text of each play, and related essays offer further insights. Each title contains an integrated audio CD that is narrated by British Shakespearean actor Sir Derek Jacobi and features excerpts from memorable performances of key scenes. The series boasts stellar credits: its advisory board includes Shakespeare scholars David Bevington and Peter Holland and Chicago Shakespeare Theater director Barbara Gaines. Among the contributors are several more Shakespeare scholars as well as actress Janet Suzman and Andrew Wade, formerly head of voice for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Both volumes begin with Thomas Garvey's "In Shakespeare's `Time,' " an essay that sets the playwright in historical context, and end with "The Cast Speaks," in which casts of 2005 productions discuss their approach to the characters they portrayed. The CD accompanying the Othello volume features a variety of noteworthy performers in the title role, including Paul Robeson, Paul Scofield, and Edwin Booth; and the CD accompanying the Romeo and Juliet volume presents recordings of Kate Beckinsale, Dame Peggy Ashcroft, and Ellen Terry as Juliet; Kenneth Branagh and Michael Sheen as Romeo; Sir Derek Jacobi as Mercutio; and Sir John Gielgud as Friar Laurence. With the number of film adaptations of Shakespeare's works in recent years, public libraries should seriously consider acquiring this series.-Carolyn M. Mulac, Chicago P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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