Harlequin
The Fun-Filled Newsletter for Visitors to the Children's Book Centre Issue Number Eight
Simba hits the stage
The ‘animal’ stars of smash hit Broadway musical The Lion King are now delighting London audiences in this vibrant stage adaptation of Disney’s classic animated film. An array of colourful puppets, masks and costumes based on traditional African and Indonesian masks and shadow-puppets, along with songs, music and dancing, spectacularly bring Simba and co. to life. Harlequin’s Liz Gee went to witness The Lion King experience for herself. “The puppetry is out of this world.
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The visual effects, colours and dancing, really convey the feeling of Africa. “And I loved the way the cast rush into the audience, you actually get the animals coming up through the audience. It really stretches the imagination!” she said. The sheer inventiveness of the staging coupled with an Oscar-winning original score, featuring songs by Sir Tim Rice and Sir Elton John, has made the production an instant hit with young and old alike. It has already received wide critical acclaim and won a host of awards, including the 1998 Tony for Best Musical. The Lion King gets a thumbs up, and Harlequin recommends it as a great night out for all the family. The Lion King is currently showing at The Lyceum Theatre, but hurry, tickets are being snapped up fast. Bookings are being taken until September 2000. Enter another world

The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett £16.99 Big lumps of fat, dwarfs, diplomacy and intrigue all feature in The Fifth Elephant, the latest instalment in the Discworld series. Sam Vimes is back. Commander of the City Watch of Ankh-Morpork, husband of Lady Sybil, and now, thanks to Lord Vetinari, ambassador to the distant land of Uberwald for the crowning of the Low King, Vimes is bound to find dirty dealings and low political machinations. He also finds assassins, dwarfs with gender uncertainties, and homicidal werewolves. The Fifth Elephant is the 24th book in the phenomenal Discworld series. We asked Terry Pratchett how it felt to be the best-selling fiction author in Britain. “To be honest I think that is just an artefact of statistics,” he says, which I think means that it is true, but that he is not overly impressed by it. The Fifth Elephant adds an important new strand to the mythology of Discworld. In addition to the four elephants on the back of the cosmic turtle supporting the world, a fifth came careering through the atmosphere ages ago and reshaped the geography of the world. To this day, the dwarfs of Uberwald are mining the minerals of its bones and the fat deposits which the fifth elephant left behind. Well, that sounds about right. But how coherent is the mythology of the Discworld? “It’s basically coherent. I don’t spend days and days going round with a tape measure making sure. I mean you could make a chronology of the Discworld according to the stories and reveal one or two tricky areas, but a book I’m planning in the near future will explain why things are the way they are.” One of the characters in The Fifth Elephant is a teetotal vampire, who attends the vampire equivalent of Nineteenth Century Temperance meetings. For Terry Pratchett, vampires, zombies, dwarfs and dogs (Gaspode the talking dog makes a welcome return in this book) are just people. “When you think about it, one thing that defines a vampire is that they live on blood. For a vampire to give it up raises all sorts of questions about its status as a vampire.” The Fifth Elephant is a great addition to the Discworld series.

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