William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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Annotation: Presents the tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet in a modified graphic novel format.
Catalog Number: #234831
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Graphic Novel Graphic Novel
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Copyright Date: 1999
Edition Date: 2005
Pages: vi, 58 p.
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-7641-3144-3 Perma-Bound: 0-605-02633-5
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-7641-3144-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-02633-9
Dewey: 822.3
LCCN: 2004110790
Dimensions: 25 cm.
Language: English
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Each book includes a brief introduction to the play, followed by an illustrated cast of characters and a glossary of literary terms. Annotated text from the play alternates with black-and-white illustrations of selected scenes, "in the style of a graphic novel." It is unclear why the editors did not make these true graphic novels throughout. The black-and-white comic art is undistinguished, and as most of it simply depicts two characters in conversation, it does little to clarify what is going on. The first two plays in particular offer marvelous possibilities for the illustrator, so the ho-hum comics are disappointing. "Think about it" boxes contain study questions such as, "What has worried Macbeth?" and boxed "Literary terms" give examples like, "`Hermia...Hermia...Helena...' is...alliteration." Teacher's guides accompany the books. Those interested in a graphic-novel interpretation might want to consider Arthur Byron Cover's Macbeth (Puffin, 2005), which is illustrated in manga style and would probably appeal more to reluctant readers. These titles might be useful for teaching Shakespeare to reluctant readers, but a better choice might be a simple annotated Shakespeare such as a Sparknotes "No Fear Shakespeare" series (Spark), supplemented by Bruce Coville's William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (1999) and William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (2003, both Penguin), which are picture-book prose adaptations, or Adam McKeown's Romeo and Juliet: Young Reader's Shakespeare (Sterling, 2004).-Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Voice of Youth Advocates
The perfect example of a good idea with poor execution, this series provides a non-intimidating introduction to Shakespeare for teens through the style of a graphic novel. The books begin with a list of literary definitions, and occasional examples of these terms are highlighted at the margins of the play's text. Intermingled with the text are "Think About It" questions intended to engage students with the text. Every few pages, a two-page insert of pure text disappointingly interrupts the graphic novel format. The plays are abridged, and the annotations on the side are nowhere near the quality or frequency of other Shakespeare series. In Romeo and Juliet, the black-and-white illustrations are neither engaging nor well drawn, with scenes appearing as little more than talking heads. Twelfth Night fares better, as the pictures assist in understanding the play's mistaken identity motif. This series could be a useful tool, but it will not be an adequate substitute for series such as Shakespeare Made Easy from Barron's. The accompanying Teacher Resource Books contain a series of creative writing activities and worksheets intended to encourage students to understand Shakespeare's language and to relate to the characters and situations in the plays. Activities include making a television news report of the murders of Tybalt and Mercutio and writing horoscopes for the "star-crossed lovers." Some activities are a bit simplistic, but the Teacher Resource Books would probably be a welcome addition to any school library.-Angela Semifero.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
School Library Journal
Voice of Youth Advocates
Reading Level: 6.0
Interest Level: 5-9

Perhaps the most famous of all romantic tragedies, this is the tale of two young star-crossed lovers and their families, who are caught in a destructive web of hatred.

Shakespeare’s immortal dramas are now available in illustrated form for classroom use! This revolutionary way of introducing the timeless comedies and tragedies of the Bard of Avon combines the art form of the graphic novel with written passages taken directly from Shakespeare’s texts.

Children first studying Shakespeare are sometimes intimidated by the difficulty of his language. They will often miss the excitement and suspense in his story lines and the fascination of the wonderful characters he has created. Approaching his plays in the form of graphic-novel-style picture stories, supplemented with excerpts from the original dialogue, can be a young student’s important first step in truly understanding and appreciating Shakespeare’s masterpieces. Preceding the action of each play, these books offer brief summaries explaining what the play is all about, followed by illustrated casts of characters, each character shown with a brief descriptive caption. Supplementing each title in this series is a separately available teacher’s guide that suggests topics for classroom discussion and advises on imaginative activities that fit the classroom environment and coincide with the five acts of each play.

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