I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
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.
***Wanda’s Summer Carnival of Children’s Literature***
The second installment of this graphic novel series and it is every bit as cute and smart as the first one. More lessons on what theatre is all about. The lion, who played Macbeth in the first book, now plays Juliet’s parent-approved love interest, Parry. When a young monkey in the audiences says, “Look, there’s Macbeth,” his mother explains to him about actors and that in this play the lion is Parry.
The two old vultures in the upper balcony reminded me strongly of the two hecklers in the Muppet Show, although they merely comment on various topics rather than heckling the actors.
Romeo is a rooster from a petting zoo and Juliet is a bear, living in “the wild” (say that like the penguins in Madagascar for an authentic feeling, I think). Romeo longs to walk on the wild side, while Juliet spends some time contemplating what it would feel like to be petted. They both just want to be best friends and have regular play dates. The whole petted vs. wilder dichotomy is reflected in the audience too, as a young monkey and a lamb begin as kids who don’t like each other and progress to build a friendship.
There are running gags, like bears always wanting to pee on woodchucks and the roosters putting on Lone Ranger type masks and being perfectly disguised. Once again, the elephant arrives late (this time with a date) and blocks the rest of the audience during a crucial scene.
Very cute. If you enjoyed the Macbeth version, you will also enjoy Romeo & Juliet.