The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents: Macbeth

illus. by Zack Giallongo. 80p. First Second. Sept. 2014. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781626721012; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781596439153.
Gr 2–5—With its gruesome murders, Macbeth might not seem the most obvious of Shakespeare's plays to be adapted into a children's graphic novel, but by placing the play as a story within a story, Lender and Giallongo make it work. The animals of Stratford Zoo are putting on a show— specifically Macbeth—starring the lion as the play's titular hero and featuring a hyena and a cast of other animals to fill out the ranks. A sanitized version of the drama is told while the animal audience makes quips, provides commentary, and hides from the zookeeper. Naturally, a child-friendly, zoo animal-filled version of the tragic play wanders a great deal from the original. The additions and changes (such as Macbeth eating the king with copious amounts of ketchup) serve to make the tale and the entire graphic novel a comic affair that will appeal to younger readers. All of the violence is offstage and only hinted at, not depicted, in keeping with the younger audience envisioned for this book. The artwork is bright and cartoonish, with an appealing mix of panel sizes to keep the story moving, emphasize key points, and allow for amusing little details for readers to find. Perhaps the greatest missed opportunity is that only a few times do the animal thespians use lines from the original Shakespeare and these times are not marked as such. Other than that flaw, here is a delightful introduction to the Bard's work that won't overwhelm young readers.—Elizabeth Nicolai, Anchorage Public Library, AK

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing