Romeo and Juliet

Margaret Early, Author, William Shakespeare, Author, Margaret Early, Illustrator ABRAMS $18.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8109-3799-4
Adults looking for a dramatically abridged version of Shakespeare's tragic love story with some lovely backdrops of Verona may find something to savor in Early's (Sleeping Beauty; William Tell) picture-book rendition. She gives a nod to several medieval fresco artists and to such Renaissance painters as Michelangelo and Botticelli, whose ornate patterns and borders may well be the inspiration for her paintings. A sharp attention to detail-- including the exquisite geometric designs of palace floors, elaborate period dress, authentic Verona streetscapes and the delicate strands of Juliet's golden tresses--distinguishes Early's art, but the lovers' faces are mask-like, and even the most dramatic of scenes appear to be static. Early's narrative paraphrases the action of this drama while showcasing some of the most legendary lines from the Bard's quill. But these clunky juxtapositions detract from Shakespeare's own words, as in this example: ""Lord Capulet replied that Juliet was too young [to marry]. Why not wait a little longer? `Let two more summers wither in their pride ere we may think her ripe to be a bride,' he entreated."" Children will be better off waiting for the original--and adults better off returning to it. All ages. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/02/1998
Release date: 03/01/1998
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