Reviews for Hunchback of Notre Dame


Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Fall
These adaptations straightforwardly delineate plot points but sacrifice atmosphere, language, and uniqueness. The resulting retellings are stiff and, in the case of already child-friendly fare like Pinocchio, somewhat superfluous. Spot illustrations are more page-filler than enhancement. Discussion questions and an afterword are appended to each story. [Review includes these Classic Starts titles: The Jungle Book, Little Lord Fauntleroy, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, The Last of the Mohicans, The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle, Arabian Nights, and Pinocchio.] Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 1998
An adaptation of a portion of Hugo's classic tale of Quasimodo and his love for the gypsy dancer Esmerelda is well written and succinctly presented. The illustrations, rendered in soft pastels, are especially fine at portraying depth and distance, though the lead characters' faces are often obscured. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 1997
Illustrated by Bill Slavin. An adaptation of Hugo's classic tale of Quasimodo and his love for the gypsy dancer Esmerelda is well-written and succinctly presented. The illustrations, rendered in soft pastels, are especially fine at portraying depth and distance, though at times there seems to be a strange reluctance for showing the faces of the lead characters full-on. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2006 Spring
The classic story of Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre Dame, and his love of the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda, is translated into a dumbed-down, first-person account by Pierre Gringoire, Esmeralda's beggar husband. Apart from the linguistic vandalism and the short, choppy sentences, the story is basically intact and passably engaging in its shortened form for younger readers. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1997 October #2
Children who have had a taste of Hugo's 18th-century epic through the animated film may find this version, with its absence of song, rather sobering. Wynne-Jones (Some of the Kinder Planets) makes no attempt to soften the harsh story of the hideously deformed, big-hearted Quasimodo, who escapes ridicule only in the sanctuary of the cathedral. Although the narrative is fluent and conversational, children may need guidance through some of the more challenging vocabulary and occasional wordy passages. The irony in Hugo's novel is preserved here, as when Wynne-Jones draws a delicious parallel between church and state: Quasimodo is deaf because "the bells of the church had made him that way"; the judge who sentences the deformed man to a flogging "is as deaf as Quasimodo. The court had made him that way." Still, the deeper implications of the story will likely be lost on children. Dramatically framing the text are Slavin's (Extra! Extra! The Who, What, Where, When and Why of Newspapers) subtly hued, skillfully composed paintings. His mastery of detail, especially in period dress and architecture, makes turbulent medieval Paris appear real sometimes frighteningly so. This polished, thoughtful collaboration may serve as an authentic preview to Hugo's classic, but may be best appreciated with an adult standing by. Ages 5-8. (Sept.) Copyright 1998 Publishers Weekly Reviews

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School Library Journal Reviews 2001 April
Gr 5-12-Amidst the foreboding structure of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris during medieval times, Quasimodo, the hunchbacked bell ringer, watches the city and it's people in awe, yet knowing that he can never belong among them because of his deformed shape. Through an odd turn of events, he finds himself cast in a struggle to save the beautiful gypsy dancer Esmaralda from being unjustly executed. The St. Charles Players in a multicast dramatization uniquely tell this tragic tale of romance and intrigue. Music and background sounds are intertwined with truly dramatic character portrayals to result in a superb "radio theatre" style rendition of this classic tale. Magnificent emphasis to detail makes this a must have for middle or high school libraries. Students will be enthralled by the excellent telling of this tale.-Tammy E. Snipes, Great Falls High School, SC Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 1998 April
Done in picture-book format, this retelling is, of necessity, reduced to its bare bones, but the essentials of the complex plot have been captured. The pictures, full of action and crowded with scenes of the Parisian mob, the Festival of Fools, and the airy heights of the cathedral are skillfully drawn and colored with pale hues. Quasimodo's crooked figure and distorted face are appropriately repulsive, a foil to Esmeralda's grace and beauty. Middle grade readers familiar with the Disney movie will particularly enjoy this spin-off of the Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ Copyright 1998 School Library Journal Reviews

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School Library Journal Reviews 1997 September
These visually appealing abridgments of classic titles make fairly difficult and complex novels accessible to a junior high audience. Virtually all kids are aware of Disney's not-so-ugly Quasimodo as the hunchbacked bell ringer of the Notre Dame Cathedral in 15th-century hang-'em-high Paris, and many will have seen some film version of Dracula. Massively trimmed, these retellings have brief, readable chapters; the violence is toned down and the eroticism erased. Competent illustrators bring visual unity to the presentations. Beginning with table-of-contents pages that feature portraits of the casts of characters, the books then devote a few pages to setting the place and mood of the tales. Two-page spreads of text and drawings are framed by related facts and illustrated with details from paintings, photographs, and even movie stills, all of which provide fascinating geographical, historical, and archaeological tidbits. These heavily illustrated books are guaranteed to give young people a leg up on high school and college English classes with their vivid re-creations of cruel, horrific, and romantic European worlds. Copyright 1998 School Library Journal Reviews

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