We Don’t Eat Our Classmates

By Ryan T. Higgins
Picture Book, 2018
Reviewed by Pam Tallmadge, Youth Services

Concerned about making friends at school? Penelope Rex also worries about what her classmates will be like, and then she discovers they are all children. Penelope is a dinosaur, and her last name will help you figure out what kind. Penelope thinks children are delicious and eats them. Then, at the urging of her teacher, spits out some of her classmates. No one will be friends with Penelope until Penelope finds out how it feels to be snacked upon. Will this change Penelope? Read and find out if Penelope learns how to make friends.

Hag-Seed

By Margaret Atwood
Adult Fiction, 2016
Reviewed by Ann Doubleday, Adult Services

Atwood’s modernized version of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” stays fairly close to the original storyline, but the language and setting are radically different. Much of her novel takes place in a 21st century prison. Felix, her version of Shakespeare’s magician Prospero, is a theater director. Still mourning the recent deaths of his wife and daughter, he hopes his plans for a new production of the play will help him heal emotionally. He even envisions his daughter at least symbolically coming back to life through his play’s resurrection of Prospero’s daughter, Miranda – that is until his conniving assistant orchestrates Felix’s dismissal and steps in as the new director. Retreating to an abandoned shack and taking on a new position as prison “literacy through literature” instructor, Felix hatches a plan for revenge.

Because Atwood simultaneously rewrites and interprets the play, even those who have not read it will have no difficulty following and making the connections to the original. Nevertheless, it is likely to be most interesting to those already familiar with Shakespeare’s play.