cover image The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth

The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth

Ian Lendler, illus. by Zack Giallongo. First Second, $12.99 paper (80p) ISBN 978-1-59643-915-3

One sign of promise is when an idea seems so obvious that it’s a wonder it hasn’t done before. A midnight zoo production of Macbeth, by animals for animals? Of course! The role of Macbeth goes to the lion, which means that he doesn’t slay his enemies—he eats them. First to go is the king. Uh-oh—small animals are in the audience, and the action promises to be bloody. Fortunately, an elephant picks this moment to ease down the row, blocking much of the gore. “Mom, what’s all that red stuff?” asks a young monkey. “Uhhh... nothing, dear. Probably just ketchup.” (She isn’t wrong.) Lendler (An Undone Fairy Tale) provides the wordplay and one-liners, Giallongo (Broxo) the rubber-faced expressions and over-the-top silliness (when Macbeth sees a sign that he should go ahead and eat the king, it’s a neon diner sign that shouts, “Good Eats”). Like any fine comic idea, once the structure is put into place, the laughs come effortlessly. This is the Bard at his broadest. Ages 7–10. Author’s agent: Tanya McKinnon, McKinnon McIntyre. Illustrator’s agent: Bernadette Baker-Baughman, Victoria Sanders and Associates. (Sept.)