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

The Shakespeare Stories: Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet

The Shakespeare Stories: Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet

Fall 2017 Fiction
Ages: 6 & Up
Author: Andrew Matthews
Illustrator: Tony Ross
ISBN: 9781684121625
Hardcover Price: $7.99

Originally published in the early 2000's, this volume of The Shakespeare Stories presents four retold plots drawn from Shakespeare plays, narrated in lively prose. Andrew Matthews and Tony Ross present two tragedies and two comedies: Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Taming of the Shrew. Each story opens with a cast list, and begins and ends with a quote from the play, so that young readers can get a small taste of Shakespearean language. Each story balances between description and conversation, with a few major scenes and monologues translated into brief, fast-paced modern-language dialogues. Descriptions fill in for costumes and scenery; at times, this is helpful and at others it imposes heavy-handed interpretations. For example, young readers get a chance to giggle at Petruchio's ridiculous costuming and behavior at his wedding in The Taming of the Shrew, but Banquo's ghost in Macbeth is described as horrifyingly gory and dripping with blood, the witches as grotesque, in ways that might be better left up to young readers' imaginations (or to future viewings of stage plays that might interpret these characters differently). The illustrations, however, are a treat, giving a sense of theatricality, staging, and expression in whimsical line drawings reminiscent of Quentin Blake. This volume will give young readers an entertaining introduction to the story lines in some frequently performed Shakespeare plays.

Naomi Lesley   ©2017 Parents' Choice
Naomi Lesley taught middle and high school English for six years. She is currently in a doctoral program at the George Washington University, focusing on American young adult literature.

Look for this product at:
Printers Row Publishing Group

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