Gr 9 Up--Covering works that are frequently studied in high school, this strong set is a useful one-stop research tool. The books are divided into three major sections: biographical information, contextual essays, and critical essays. The selection of critical works covers the gamut of readings, from early reactions to Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises to considerations of feminist and lesbian themes in Sandra Cisneros's The House on Mango Street. And unlike Gale's "Novels for Students" and "Short Stories for Students" sets (which these might complement), Salem isn't simply presenting readers with lengthy excerpts from critical works, but with entire essays. Online access to the full text of the set is complementary with print purchase. It should be noted that while the print set will be a welcome addition to reference shelves, the kind of material repackaged here is readily available through Gale's Literature Resource Center and EBSCO's Literary Reference Center.--Herman Sutter, St. Agnes Academy, Houston, TX[Page 67]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr 4-7--These adaptations retain some of the authors' original phrases, but the stories are so severely cut that what remain are mildly embellished plot outlines. Last of the Mohicans immediately draws readers into the adventure but bogs down as it bounces from escape to capture and back again. James Fenimore Cooper's voice is lost and the narrative is reduced to plot elements alone. There is no explanation that Hawkeye is the prototype frontiersman, a character who reappears in American literature and culture. Red Badge of Courage is more successful, reflecting as it does some of Stephen Crane's original writing. It retains details of Henry's development from a boy who romanticizes war through his fear not only of battle but also of his own mettle. There are no notes describing why the novella is a classic or that its depiction of war from a soldier's point of view was groundbreaking. The frequent full- and half-page illustrations are rendered in black and white and are stilted. There are no maps, and no explanation of either war. Students will not be well served by these publications.--Kathryn Kosiorek, formerly at Cuyahoga County Public Library, Brooklyn, OH[Page 152]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
Gr 7 Up -With only a few minor details, Vansant succeeds well at translating this story into visual form, resulting in a book that should capture the attention of students who need the incentive to work through the Victorian prose of the novel. The classic tale of young Henry Fleming bound up in the horrors of the Civil War is aptly told, but occasionally Crane's fluid prose suffers from the necessary abbreviation it must undergo to be adapted to this format. Vansant has a specialty in illustrating military subjects and the accurate dress and weapons of his creations demonstrate his attention to detail. He conveys the confusion and horror of the battlefield as well as the excruciating wait that comes before. An appendix details how the images were conceived and created. This is a solid purchase, particularly for schools in which this novel is taught as part of the curriculum, as it could greatly aid reluctant readers in understanding the plot and characters of this American classic.-Courtney Lewis, Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School, Kingston, PA[Page 238]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.