Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Non-Fiction
The Shakespeare Timeline Wallbook

The Shakespeare Timeline Wallbook

Fall 2017 Non-Fiction
Ages: 6 - 14 yrs.
ISBN: 978-0-9932847-6-2
Hardcover Price: $19.95

In Shakespeare's "The Taming of The Shrew," traveling rich kid Lucentio declares "Here let us breathe, and haply [sic] institute a course of learning and ingenious studies."

That pretty much sums up the spirit of "The Shakespeare Timeline Wallbook," although that quote didn't make the cut among the hundreds of Shakespearean quotations, historical tidbits, plot summaries and illustrations that populate the book's colorful and busy, six-foot-long, fold-out timeline. Altogether, this ingenious book offers history and insights into Shakespeare's 38 plays, from "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" to "Henry VIII," as well as into the Bard himself and his times.

The plays are blocked off along the bottom-of-the-pages timeline, spanning from 1590 when, according to history, the Stratford man began writing, to 1613, when London's Globe Theatre went up in flames. What about the author's death? That's reported in the book's 18-page newspaper attached at the end, that's filled with fascinating stories through the ages to the present relating to Shakespeare, along with quizzes, related facts, sonnets and fictitious Letters to the Editor. Fortunately, a magnifier is included for reading the tiny fonts and studying the miniature illustrations.

Sort of like a Shakespeare cheat sheet, the timeline condenses The Bard's plays into factual morsels. Take the segment on "Macbeth," where readers learn that Shakespeare wrote it around 1606, about the time Guy Fawkes conspired to blow up Parliament. They also get three short quotes, including "Double, double, toil and trouble … ," and a plot summary plus three scene descriptions.

The other plays get about the same and it's all mesmerizing to read through—especially for someone who's somewhat familiar with the works of Shakespeare. For others, this magnificent and innovative timeline can plant the seeds of literary discovery. What's more, it's a fun book to lean over and look at.

Don Oldenburg   ©2017 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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What on Earth Publishing Ltd

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