The Phantom of the Opera

Peter Neumeyer, Author, Don Weller, Illustrator Peregrine Smith Books $14.95 (48p) ISBN 978-0-87905-330-7
Gaston Leroux's famous gothic novel of intrigue and romance beneath the Paris Opera House has spawned a number of spinoffs; this storybook adaptation is not among the more felicitous. It tells, of course, of the beautiful opera singer Christine and the choice she must make between the disfigured Phantom, who taught her her craft, and the Viscount she has long loved. Leroux's is an intricate and complex story; here, it is given a summarized, reductive treatment. Characters and their motivations are scantily developed; the prose has a rushed, breathless quality that is overly melodramatic even for its subject; and, as presented, many specifics of the plot, as well as its eventual resolution and meaning, seem likely to leave children bewildered. The illustrations are stylized and garishly colored; they do not help to explicate the text nor do they make it inviting to the picture-book audience. No ages given. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988
Release date: 11/01/1988
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