Rummanah Aasi
 It has been a while since I read a good Shakespeare adaptation for younger readers. The Stratford Zoo is a fun graphic novel series that makes Shakespeare's famous plays accessible to younger readers. The latest graphic novel in this series is The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Romeo and Juliet. Many thanks to First Second and Netgalley for an advanced reader's copy of the graphic novel. The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Romeo and Juliet will be published and released on September 29th, 2015.

Description: The Stratford Zoo looks like a normal zoo . . . until the gates shut at night. That's when the animals come out of their cages to stage elaborate performances of Shakespeare's greatest works. They might not be the most accomplished thespians, but they've got what counts: heart. Also fangs, feathers, scales, and tails.

Review: At night the Stratford Zoo performs Shakespeare's plays. The animal thespians set the stage for the adaptation of Romeo and Juliet where a rooster and a bear play the title roles. This adaptation casts  the Capulets as bears that belong to a group called Wilders, or animals that live freely out in the forest, and the Montagues as roosters, belonging to the Petters, farm animals residing at the Verona Petting Zoo. The play follows the Shakepeare's plot except Romeo and Juliet are to be best friends instead of lovers and the "tragic" conclusion involves induced hibernation rather than suicide, making one of the Bard's famous play approachable and relatable without focusing on the too mature material such as bawdy jokes and violence for younger readers. 
 I really liked how the subplots of two bickering young monkey and sheep who could not stand one another and hurling insults at each other slowly became friends while watching the play. I also loved the audience's commentary about the play and the actors, especially the grumpy vulture who felt he could have done a better job as Romeo and Juliet. Bright and bold illustrations splash across each page, utilizing a variety of panel shapes, sizes, and full-page spreads to create a visually enticing backdrop. There is plenty of chuckles throughout the graphic novel and the director's notes at the end are a definite highlight and not to be missed. After reading this graphic novel, I can't wait to read the first graphic novel in which Macbeth is performed by the Stratford Zoo. This is a really good Shakespeare adaptation on a very basic level just note that the play's plot is completely definitely from that in the graphic novel.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 3 and up.

If you like this book try: The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth (Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue, #1)
3 Responses
  1. Kindlemom Says:

    These really do sound like a lot of fun. Glad you had a good time with this, wonderful review!

  2. Cute. I'll have to recommend to my cousins for their little ones. I can see them getting into graphic novels like this.

  3. This sounds so cute. And I love how popular graphic novels are these days. As much as I hate gendering books, do you think this would appeal to boys? I'd love to get it for a nephew but it's a family that I think would discourage their son from reading "girl" books.

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