Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents: Romeo and Juliet by Ian Lendler, illustrated by Zack Giallongo

I reviewed the first Stratford Zoo title for No Flying No Tights and I loved it. Unfortunately, it really didn't circulate much despite my booktalking and I was disappointed but sadly decided not to purchase the second volume. However! A young patron desperately wanted to read the next book and no other library had purchased them. So I got to buy it after all!

I didn't like this one as much as Macbeth, but it was still fun. The zoo animals are putting on another production, this time of the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. A rooster and a bear, representing the petting zoo and the wild animals, find themselves becoming best friends. Unfortunately, their friends and families do not approve and Juliet's father wants her to be best friends with a lion! A wise owl has a clever plan, but things keep getting wrong and in the end....they both end up hibernating together.

I loved the silly chatter of the audience, the side story of the lamb and monkey kids fighting, and the dramatic hilarity of the story. I did feel that substituting the best friends/playdate/hibernation for the love/marriage/death was a little silly. I'm pretty sure most kids are going to realize that in the "real" story they die. I do love Giallongo's art - there's no fancy artistic subtleties to it, just strong, classic cartoon art with his own style keeping it unique.

Verdict: I still think these are delightful fun and I can't wait to see what's next - the book says they're going to tackle a comedy! but I have to admit they haven't clicked with my audience. However, as long as I've got at least one (two including me) fan I will definitely keep purchasing them and trying to think of fun ways to promote them.

ISBN: 9781626722781; Published 2015 by First Second; Purchased for the library

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