Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Shakespeare Books for Children, You Say?

Here's a list that's right up my alley -Top 10 Shakespeare Books for Children. My first thought is, "I wonder how many of them I have?"  My second is, "I wonder how many are "filler" that shouldn't on this list?"

Charles and Mary Lamb make an appearance, of course. I never liked these, and I'm probably in the minority. Not only is the writing really dated, but the stories are painfully abridged. Their version of The Tempest completely cuts out the entire Trinculo/Stephano subplot.  Go ahead, search for their names, they're not in there.

Usborne's Illustrated Shakespeare got the most play (ha!) in my house, mostly because it's been around the longest and has pictures. My daughter picked it up on more than one occasion by herself to read the stories.

I want to like the Shakespeare Can Be Fun series, which retell the stories entirely in a series of rhyming couplets, illustrated by children's drawings. But they are an insane chore to work through! You have no idea how hard it is to read rhyming couplets until you try to read an entire play that way. I take these to my kids' classrooms to read and the kids get up and go see what else is available. True story.

Marcia Williams' books are our most recent find, and are excellent on all levels. If anything they're packed a little too densely, translating each page into a series of comic-book panels with commentary from the audience running down the margins.  You want to read it all but it's hard to tell *how* to read it all.

Definitely some new ideas on the list, and some books I don't have yet.

This year's Shakespeare posting marathon is sponsored by "Shakespeare is Universal." Help us prove that Shakespeare makes life better. Buy a t-shirt and support cancer research.

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