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Inspired by real-life events, Melville's epic tale features a young sailor, Ishmael, who yearns for adventure aboard a whaling-ship. In Nantucket he signs up for a voyage aboard the Pequod, bound for the tropics. But what Ishmael believes will be an ordinary whale hunt turns out to be nothing less than a voyage of revenge led by the imposing 'ungodly, god-like' Captain Ahab. For Ahab has already lost one of his legs to the great White Whale, Moby-Dick, and this time - driven by a tremendous inner rage - he is determined to pursue him to the death.
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Gr 5 Up-Opening with the classic line, "Call me Ishmael," the narrator's New England accent adds a touch of authenticity to this sometimes melodramatic presentation. The St. Charles Players do a credible job on the major roles, but some of the group responses, such as "Aye, aye Captain," sound more comic than serious. This adaptation retains a good measure of Melville's dialogue and key passages which afford listeners a vivid connection with the lengthy novel. Background music and appropriate sound effects enhance the telling of the story about Captain Ahab's obsessive pursuit of the malevolent white whale. The cassettes are clearly marked, and running times are noted on each side of the tapes. Announcements at the beginning of each side and a subtle chime signal at the end make it easy to follow the story, but a stereo player must be used to hear some dialogue. The lightweight cardboard package is inadequate for circulation. Done in a radio theatre format, the recording does a nice job of introducing the deeper themes of the book and covering the major events. For school libraries that support an American literature curriculum, this recording offers a different interpretation of an enduring classic.-Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library. Rocky Hill, CT Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Moby-Dick is one of our greatest and most enduring works. The physically and psychologically scarred Ahab's at-any-cost pursuit of the white whale is a riveting tale with considerable philosophical overtones. Then there is Melville's invention of the Pequod, a microcosm of humanity together with his mythopoeic vision of both the greatness and self-destructive tendencies of America. Finally, there is the intricate narrative technique itself, with the story of Ishmael, Queequeg, and Ahab constantly being interrupted for minutia about the whaling industry and numerous other subjects, often with digressions within digressions. At first, Paul Boehmer seems a tad youthful and earnest to convey this momentous yarn, but, after all, this is the story of the young and inexperienced Ishmael. In addition to avoiding an overly melodramatic voice for Ahab, Boehmer offers an exceptionally well-measured performance, alternating between the calm and the enthusiastic. An excellent production; recommended for all collections.-Michael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr. Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.

The great white resurfaces in this gripping, comic book-style retelling. Comic-strip veterans Schwartz and Giordano condense Melville's leviathan tale into an action-packed, 48-page adventure. Despite forgoing Melville's "Call me Ishmael" first-person narrative and sensory details, this retelling closely adheres to the original plot, including some pivotal scenes absent from Allan Drummond's spare but entertaining 1997 Moby Dick. The dense story clips along, thanks to concise but appealingly hammy storytelling and melodramatic drawings, plus multiple panels that quicken the pace. When Ishmael meets Queequeg, for instance, the author squeezes out every drop of suspense: "There in the dimly lit room looms the forbidding image of Queequeg... harpoon at the ready, poised to sink its sharp head into his shaking body!!" Giordano ratchets up the tension with a series of close-ups of Ishmael's terrified face as he awakens to the "savage" in his rented room. The brooding, dark-toned panels exude imminent danger-an ideal milieu for Captain Ahab's doomed voyage. The book also provides a brief biography of Melville, as well as facts about whaling and New Bedford, Mass., the city that commissioned this retelling in celebration of the 150th anniversary (in 2001) of Moby Dick's original publication. Ages 8-up. (Oct.)

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