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Children's LiteratureThis rich retelling of the classic story of star-crossed lovers has plenty of room in 96 pages to include details and nuances. The reader will gain an understanding of the plot that should make Shakespeare's own words easier and more pleasurable to read and understand. Mr. McKeown explains in his introduction that Shakespeare did not develop in as much detail many of the characters and scenes in Romeo and Juliet as he did in his more mature works. Thus much is left to the reader's imagination. To fill in those details, Mr. McKeown has drawn heavily on various productions he has seen and on discussions with colleagues and students. He reminds readers that it is their own perspectives that allow Shakespeare's plays to speak to the world we live in. McKeown suggests that, when studying the original, readers remember this book to see how their interpretations differ. Among this book's excellent features set this it apart are a list of who's who in the play, an index, and answers to questions such as why Juliet has a nurse and why the play is set in Italy instead of England. Mr. McKeown has taught Shakespeare and Renaissance culture and has also retold Hamlet. This book in "The Young Reader's Shakespeare" series is evocatively illustrated with misty watercolors. The artist has received more than 55 distinguished awards for work created for a wide variety of clients. 2004, Sterling Publishing Company, Ages 10 up.
—Janet Crane Barley