Bravo, Mr. William Shakespeare!

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
What a grand idea—Shakespeare in comic strip form! I grew up with "Tintin" and "Asterix" and remember the many hours of delight that good comic strips can bring. Marcia William's detailed, creative illustrations are a great introduction to the age of Shakespeare. This is also a great way to introduce six of Shakespearean plays to children—"As You Like It," "Richard III," "Antony and Cleopatra," "Twelfth Night," "King Lear," and "The Merchant of Venice." 2000, Candlewick Press, $16.99. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: A. Braga SOURCE: Parent Council Volume 8
Children's Literature
Williams presents seven plays—"As You Like It," "Anthony and Cleopatra," "Richard III," "Twelfth Night," "King Lear," "The Merchant of Venice," and "Much Ado About Nothing"—as if they were being performed at the Globe Theater in one season. Each "reenactment" spans four to six pages and consists of three parts: (1) The exquisitely detailed ink and watercolor, comic strip style illustrations, which contain snippets of original dialogue that capture the flavor of Shakespeare's language and deliver a few classic lines. (2) A "frame by frame" plot synopsis beneath each illustration. (3) A three-sided border around each page depicting the Globe theatergoers, from the rowdy "groundlings" (along the bottom) to the privileged nobility (up the sides). Williams successfully conveys a sense of the "great unwashed" Elizabethan audiences of pickpockets and rotten fruit throwers. Their funny puns and side comments provide a delightful comic relief. An overwhelming amount of detail is presented in a very short space. Young readers, unfamiliar with Shakespeare's tales, may have difficulty following some of the seven story lines. 2000, Candlewick Press, $16.99. Ages 12 up. Reviewer: Ellen R. Braaf
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-In this appealing follow-up to Tales from Shakespeare (Candlewick, 1998), Williams presents entertaining and accessible retellings of seven more of the Bard's works. Included here are four comedies (As You Like It, Twelfth Night, The Merchant of Venice, and Much Ado About Nothing) and three tragedies (Antony and Cleopatra, Richard III, and King Lear). Each plot is summarized in four to six pages. Comic-book styled cartoon panels, done in pen and watercolor, move the action along. As the actors in the illustrations speak their lines, captions below explain the story in plain English. Meanwhile, stagehands and audience members shown in the border of each spread offer insights and comic relief. "They're mummies, you dummies!" explains a member of the crowd, as Antony and Cleopatra are buried together in a tomb. "Cantankerous harpies!" opines a King Lear attendee, of Cordelia's sisters. The figures in the artwork are not overly attractive. Many of the men are skinny, balding, and sniveling. Heroines are stout and homely, but their strengths still shine through. In this refreshing approach, all looks are equal and the characters can be judged by their deeds and personalities. Shakespeare is a challenge for most folks and this book provides an approachable introduction to his wordy magic. Libraries that own the first volume will definitely want to pair it up with this new one.-Anne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Will's twins, Hamnet and Judith, might themselves have been entranced by this clever telling of seven of their dad's plays. Williams has a brilliant signature style: in bright watercolor and ink images replete with fulsome and waggish detail, she builds a page of panels surrounded by a border. In the panels, the text is taken from Shakespeare's own words; below the panels, her narrative continues the action. The borders, inspired by illuminated manuscript drolleries, are full of comments from the audience, rife with puns ("It's what you Will!") and sly remarks ("a plague on all this kissing!"). She handles As You Like It, Antony and Cleopatra, Richard II, Twelfth Night, King Lear, The Merchant of Venice, and Much Ado About Nothing fearlessly, using a grisaille, Gorey-esque palette for the tragedies and full-out color saturation for the comedies, all with a kind of nervous, effervescent line that suits both initial and repeated examination. All the adoring fans of Williams's Tales from Shakespeare will rejoice, and new ones will join in the applause. (Picture book. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763612092
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2000
  • Edition description: 1st U.S. Edition
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.28 (w) x 12.86 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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