An American Breeze: A Whirlwind Theatrical Tour of American Literature

illus. by Ian Crowe. 165p. glossary. Richer Resources. Mar. 2018. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9781634640442.
Gr 7 Up—This play spans the history of U.S. literature, from colonial days to the present. The author notes that this work may be used in a classroom for educational purposes or performed for an audience. It is separated into six acts, such as "A Colonial Breeze," where "Indian" is interchangeably used for "Native American," and "Transcendental Tempests." Each act is set up in the same format. The main narrator, called the Breeze, is responsible for sending authors through time to interact with the two other observers, one cynical and one optimistic and overly pleasant. Each act features a character representing that time period, with names such as Puritan, Romantic, and Modernist. In addition to these bland characters, notable authors appear, quoting from their most famous works, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mark Twain, and Arthur Miller. A chorus of students interject, speaking only in short and simple rhymes in the style of a cheerleading squad. The last act feels rushed as Mondloch attempts to fit in as many contemporary writers as possible, including Harper Lee and Toni Morrison. Overall, the acts are repetitive, featuring expositional writing and declaration of facts with weak humor sprinkled throughout. The strongest attributes are the well-cited quotations and glossary.
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