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review 2015-02-25 01:30
Down the Rabbit Hole
Alice in Wonderland - Audio Paperback Alice in Wonderland - Audio Paperback

This is a hard book to rate. Honestly, most of it is quite silly. I have seen movie versions and adaptations and I knew that it was pretty bizarre. But in the reading, it's a bit...well, absurd. If that is one what is expecting, it's a pretty good book. I think that one has to have a high tolerance for silly puns. Some of which are a bit obscure for a modern audience, but I think that kids that read it during that era would have appreciated it.

What I liked the most about it, is, well, Alice. She's adorable. She has the clear and genuine logic and outlook of a child, and I like that about her. She's a bit precocious, but not in an obnoxious way. If she not had been, well, I'm sure she would have found Wonderland quite scary and maybe had a nervous breakdown. She approaches this bizarre place of Wonderland from her vantage point and takes everything pretty well (and with a fair amount of acceptance), considering...

I laughed pretty loud at the absurdity and I loved the narrator, Marianne Margulies's impersonations of the characters. The croquet game was fantastically written and the court scene was pretty funny as well. I kept yelling "Off With His Head," along with the Red Queen. I thought the end was a bit abrupt, but I guess it makes sense in context. There are some sad, poignant aspects that hit the right note as well (the way that the story hits on the mourning one feels for the innocence and joy of childhood as an adult).

It's nice to have read this book and to see that many versions of the book in tv/movies do a good job of capturing the essence of the novel. Generally, movies don't do so well, but I think Alice has been treated fairly faithfully throughout the years.

I will probably read some critical essays on the work and see what I pick up about some of the hidden meanings and themes and cultural relevance, since I'm not really sure about that. On surface value, it was fun and silly, and pretty enjoyable. I recommend getting this on audio. The puns and songs were a lot more funny this way.

Overall rating: 3.5/5.0 stars.

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review 2013-06-10 00:00
Shakespeare for Children (Unabridged Classics in Audio)
Shakespeare for Children - Mary Lamb,Mary Lamb,Josephine Bailey,Simon Vance I'm not so sure that this book is appropriately titled. Many of the adaptations in here are too far above the developmental level of what I consider to be "children," but they are probably perfectly appropriate for kids between 12 and oh, 14 or 15 years old. Kids edging into 14, 15, and certainly 16 years old should be receiving some exposure to [a:William Shakespeare|947|William Shakespeare|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1360741702p2/947.jpg]'s own writing, but I think that this book might help them understand the arc of some of Shakespeare's plays better.

Romeo and Juliet: Romeo and Juliet benefited from being adapted into a story in this book. It's not one of my favorite plays--it's too melodramatic and our main characters fall in love too hard too fast. I find it very unbelievable. In this format, though, the story becomes much more in the vein of Snow White or Sleeping Beauty. It becomes a fairy tale love story, and head-over-heels, love-at-first-sight love is ok in those kind of stories. Because of the fairy tale like nature of this interpretation of the play, kids younger than 12 could probably understand this story if they have a suitably advanced vocabulary. The language is no longer Shakespearian, but the story is written with Victorian flourish and flare, which is still pretty formal.

The Tempest: I've never understood all the fuss about The Tempest, and this adaptation doesn't change my mind. I think kids under 12 would understand this story, I'm just not sure they'd find it to be that fascinating. It's a little bit of a boring story as told in this book, and it takes a lot to grab and hold kids' attention these days. I'm not sure this would do it.

Hamlet: Considerably well done adaptation. This story would appeal strongly to boys, I would imagine (that's not say that girls won't also like it), and unlike Shakespeare's play, this adaptation is easy to understand. Kids under 12 would understand this story just fine. Of course, there is the question of whether or not this is an appropriate story for kids under 12, but that's for parents to decide.

A Midsummer Night's Dream: It is what it was meant to be; a fairy tale. I suppose if the kid in question likes fairy tales, then he or she might enjoy A Midsummer Night's Dream. The kids in my life wouldn't latch on to this, however, because the love interests do get a little tangled up. Kids under 12 might find this to be a bit confusing.

King Lear: I think this is much too advanced for kids under 13 or so. Young kids just aren't at a developmental point in their lives to be able to appreciate the emotions/machinations/motivations in King Lear. Young kids are still too self-absorbed (in the developmental sense, not the ego sense) to be able to really appreciate this story to the fullest extent possible. I'm fairly sure it would sail over their heads. I think this is a play/story best served when a kid can think more outwardly than inwardly.

The Taming of the Shrew: Pretty much my favorite Shakespeare play, but this story is not well-served in this retelling. Kate's "shrewishness" is glossed over in this story, and the tug-of-war between Kate and Petruchio is virtually non-existent. Without the tug-of-war and battle-of-the-wills, Petruchio's behavior is out of context, and he comes across as plainly abusive. We don't see Kate getting a taste of her own medicine, we see her being demeaned and abused. I'd not read this version of the story to girls, and certainly not to boys, and I don't even think this version is appropriate for teenagers, who are often struggling with gender roles and identity.

Macbeth: Another adaptation that's probably too complex for younger kids. The language in this one is very Victorian again, and if that could be modernized a bit, then I think kids under 12 could understand the story here, I just don't think they'd understand the depth of it. For an excellent adaptation of the play, teens and adults should take a look at [b:Macbeth|12208336|Macbeth|A.J. Hartley|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1360773630s/12208336.jpg|16849204] by [a:A.J. Hartley|270624|A.J. Hartley|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1311026941p2/270624.jpg] and [a:David Hewson|21678|David Hewson|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1302449201p2/21678.jpg]. That was gooood....

Much Ado About Nothing: Early teens (girls in particular?) may like this adaptation, and may even identify with it. It's full of fix-ups and broken hearts, reconciliations, and gossip... Loaded with teen angst. Kids under 11 or 12 would probably be bored with this one, and kids past 14 would probably think it's as silly as I do. Not one of my favorite Shakespeare stories, can you tell?

Othello: Well, the opening sentences of this adaptation instruct readers (who the authors expected to be mostly female, as stated in their introduction) that they can admire Desdemona for choosing a black man, but she should not be imitated. There is much focus in this adaptation as to why Othello is not suitable for a white woman--in fact, I think these authors obsessed over Othello's color more than Shakespeare did. This made me uncomfortable, and I don't think I'd want to read this adaptation to kids. Victorian attitudes are too present in this tale, and I think they were more degrading than the original was. As far as the story itself goes, Iago's plotting and duplicity are too muted, so it's hard to really get in there and see how artfully he poisoned Othello against Desdemona. The end is still heartbreaking, but kids over 14 or so should try reading the original Shakespeare to really feel this play. I'm not sure that this story is appropriate for younger kids, but again, that's a parent's call.

Twelfth Night: Maybe I'm shallow, but this play is so ridiculous and annoying, and this adaptation doesn't help it at all. I can just hear my niece saying something like, "What?! She can't tell that Viola's a lady?!" Or, "He actually married her?!? He just met her like five seconds ago!" My point is, kids today are way too savvy to accept the kind of shenanigans that go on in this story. And I, for one, am glad they are.
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review 2012-07-20 22:45
The Last Battle (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 7)
The Last Battle (Chronicles of Narnia, #7) - C.S. Lewis,Pauline Baynes If only I could give this book and the whole series as many stars as are in the sky... By the Lion!
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review 2012-07-17 21:04
The Silver Chair (Narnia)
The Silver Chair (Narnia) - C.S. Lewis Didn't get to know Prince Rilian all that well and so I'll just have to go with the flow that he was indeed a good king. Still I would think, much like Edmund, that nightmares of Witchiepoo might haunt him no matter how happy and peaceful things are during his reign in Narnia... onward to the final book in this fantastic series...
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review 2012-07-11 09:06
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Movie Tie-in Edition (rack) (Narnia)
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - C.S. Lewis,Pauline Baynes I think... this might just be my favorite of the series so far, and that is saying a LOT, because it's C.S. Lewis and each of these books is packed solid with greatness from start to finish.
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