Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Coville follows up his version of The Tempest (see p. 84) with a retelling of another of Shakespeare's most popular plays. The fundamental story of magic, mischief and the trials and tribulations of love is preserved through well-chosen use of the original language and Coville's heady prose ("The queen... saw the ass-headed monstrosity through magic-drenched eyes"). Major plot lines are clearly and concisely rendered, but it is the portrayal of the various levels of humor-from Bottom's buffoonery to Puck's gleeful magic-making-that really captures the essence of the play. Nolan's (Dinosaur Dream) sumptuous, painterly watercolors highlight the theatrical setting of the spellbound wood. Gnarled, mossy trees provide the backdrop for a cast of unusually youthful lovers, gossamer-winged fairies (which nod at Rackham's famous interpretations) and a truly puckish Puck. A first-rate entre to the Bard. Ages 7-up. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Eileen Hanning
Midsummer Night's Dream is Bruce Coville's second retold Shakespeare tale. He handles the complexities skillfully. Illustrations by Nolan are a wonderful mix of detailed realism, powerful human emotions, and playful magic. Pictures give a sense of Nolan romping through his illustrations, whether he's capturing the impishness of Puck, foolishness of Bottom, or conflict of the lovers. Kindly, he gives character portraits on the end papers and we definitely used them in untangling the threads of the maze-like story.
Children's Literature - Sheree Van Vreede
Who says Shakespeare isn't for kids? Certainly not this author/teacher and her second and third grade students. This book is part of a series by Lois Brudett called "Shakespeare Can Be Fun." The story is told through rhyme and the students' illustrations. Shakespeare is presented in a manner that is understandable to children without lessening the quality of the work. Perhaps the best part of the book is how it displays the students' interpretations. We see it through their eyes.
Library Journal - Library Journal
One in a series of new editions of Shakespeare's plays, A Midsummer Night's Dream is suitable for use in high schools and compares very favorably with other editions currently available. The text is clear, and notes on the facing page make for easy reference. The edition includes an introduction to the play and to Shakespeare and a brief but useful note on Shakespeare's language and on the Globe theater. At the back are act-by-act study questions, writing assignments, and suggestions for other creative activities.-Bryan Aubrey, Fairfield, Ia.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 1-3An adaptation of the play retold in rhyming couplets. The greatest strength of the presentation is in the contributions of Burdett's elementary-age students. The obviously neatened-up drawings of the characters in various scenes are done in brightly colored markers on white backgrounds and retain many stylistic traits unique to young creators. So, too, do the diary entries of the characters, letters between them, and other documents supplied by the youngsters and reproduced (complete with their creative spelling) on most pages. The charm of this precocious output will appeal more to adults than to children. The verse (the actual story of the play) does manage to scan throughout without noticeable forcing, but is rather heavy-handed. The most graceful phrases are the few that are direct quotes from the play. Unfortunately, nothing in this book distinguishes Burdett's words from the Bard's. This book is one of the end results of an extensive learning project that includes a performance by the children. Unfortunately, the active experience of all this creation is only hinted at on the page.Sally Margolis, formerly at Deerfield Public Library, IL
William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream ( PLB Oct. 1996; 48 pp.; 0-8037-1784-6; PLB 0-8037-1785-7): Coville (Fortune's Journey, 1995, etc.) gracefully retells this famous comedy, retaining just enough of Shakespeare's language to lend a sense of the world of the play without overwhelming picture- book readers. Nolan conjures a magical world of Mediterranean-blue skies and gloomy enchanted forests, helpfully including endpaper portraits of the cast of characters. As an introduction to the real thing, this may be useful to older readers who want to have the plot and characters in mind before they enter Shakespeare's realm.
Read an Excerpt
"You've got to be kidding!" Helena cried,
"I know, it's Hermia, you want for your bride."
"Not a chance!" said Lysander, "It's you I love!
Who will not change a raven for a dove?"
"Give me a break!" Helena scoffed in dismay,
"Do you think I was born yesterday?
Your speech to me is like a thorn;
How dare you treat me with such scorn!"
Then she stomped off, in great disdain;
Lysander followed with a loving refrain.