Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth

The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth
Written by: Ian Lendler
Illustrated by: Zack Giallongo

A haughty looking lion stylishly wrapped in a red cloak against a blue background, the cover stood out on the rack and I grabbed it. What better way to introduce my kids to Macbeth than via a graphic novel? The animals at the Stratford Zoo are just 'dumb animals' in the day. But at night, they set the stage on fire with their histrionics.

The regular bloodshed of this rather violent play is suitably reduced to a child's level, where Macbeth eats those he needs to kill, with lots of ketchup. The audience keeps up a steady patter and their asides are funny, as well as helpful. The forest walks because - well, let's just say the reason it walks would have kids in splits.

While the main storyline runs true to the original, there is a lot of substitution to make it age appropriate, with some fairly hilarious results. Younger children will get the main plot alone, while the other ones will appreciate the sarcastic asides. And for sure, this is the only time you'll see one of Shakespeare's tragedy's coming across as a comedy.

The art work is bright and in shades of blue and green. It works particularly well because the number of characters in the play could be confusing for a child, specially with names that sound similar, like Macbeth and Macduff. Visuals of lions and owls and storks make it easy to differentiate them and the animals are well chosen for their characteristics that fit the characters of the original play. Lady Macbeth is a leopard who is trying to wash off her damning spots (the genius, I say!). Macbeth is a lion - regal, heroic and loved by all.

All in all, a fantastic buy and I can't wait for the next one in the series - Romeo and Juliet. I think Shakespeare would approve.

Look Inside the Book at MacMillan

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