William Shakespeare: The Tempest retold by Georghia Ellinas, illustrated by Jane Ray. Candlewick, 2020. 9781536211443
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
What did you like about the book? Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest” is retold in picture book form, with gorgeous illustrations that beautifully convey the magical tale. Ariel, spirit of the air, tells of the magician Prospero and the political events in Milan that force him to flea with his daughter, the baby Miranda. Caliban, the monster son of Sycorax, tries to force them off the idyllic island where they end up. Prospero’s cleverness and forgiveness makes everything turn out well. A story about forgiveness certainly is welcome in this day and age. Jane Ray’s rich, warm watercolor art is enough to carry the book, with collage-like elements and colors that almost shimmer on the page. Snippets of Shakespeare’s words are sprinkled throughout.
Anything you didn’t like about it? The story, like most of Shakespeare’s plays, is incredibly complicated, with many characters, multiple deceptions, and magic. Whether kids will be able to “get it” or not, I don’t know. But I do know that parents ask for adaptations of his work, so here is one you can feel good about offering them.
To whom would you recommend this book? For fans of adaptations of classical literature. I imagine this would work best for ages 4-8.
Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? 822
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: May 14, 2020