A Midsummer Night's Dream

16 min. Dreamscape. 2018. $38.99. ISBN 9781520092515.
Gr 4–8—Shakespeare's play is condensed into a short video, with mixed results. The lyrical period music played on pipes and lute provides a fitting backdrop for the mischievous fairies. They cause the actor Nick Bottom to acquire a donkey's head, Oberon the fairy king to enchant his wife so that she falls in love with Bottom, and the star-crossed lovers to fall for the wrong people. Without Shakespeare's witty banter and additional context, the story might seem bewildering, especially to young viewers. Cartoonish illustrations by Roberto Trace are given limited animation—swaying bodies and waving limbs. The narrator's summary of the convoluted plot is less than engaging and lacks the fun of watching the antics in action. Too juvenile to be used as an introduction for students who will read the Shakespeare play, and too complicated and briefly told to be satisfying to young viewers, this production struggles for relevance.
VERDICT An optional purchase for public libraries. Not recommended for school libraries.

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