Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Best zoo-based all-animal Shakespeare graphic novel ever!

Lendler, Ian; Gaillongo, Zack  (2014)   The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presnts: Macbeth.  New York:  First Second.

Opening lines:  "Peanuts!  Earthworms!  Ice cold bananas!"  (says an Albatross hawking concessions)
                          "Anyone wanna switch seats?  Please?"  (says a fox seated next to a skunk)
                           "Carrion!  Rotting Carrion! (says an aardvark peddling stinky, fly-infested meats.)

Okay, look, I don't do this often -- but you have got to get this book.  If you teach Shakespeare at any level...  If you have a sense of humor...  If you get a kick out of figuring out clever visual jokes...  If you are alive and have eyeballs and like to read ... buy this.  The story is funny.  The humor works whether you know Macbeth or not (though it is funnier if you know Shakespeare's Scottish play.

Do you really need a summary?  Really?  Okay, so this kilt-wearing lion who is a hero and is beloved by the king (an owl) along with his friend Banksy (Banquo) who is a hyena, meets these three witches (after following a signpost that gives options between humility and honor one way and hubris, homicide and humiliation the other.)  The witches tempt him with power, and soon Macbeth and his wife are plotting the downfall of all who stand between Macbeth and the throne.  Look,  you know the rest.  It is the story of Macbeth.  Only funnier and with zoo animals.

This graphic novel is appropriate for fifth or sixth grade and up (my fifth grade daughter liked it).  It is not exactly like the play.  Here the Lion eats his victims (which, mercifully, is not shown much) and suffers massive stomach aches as a result.  The art and writing are both clever and...

Oh, just go get it already.