Shakespeare's Tales

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This wonderful collection contains four of Shakespeare's best-loved plays, beautifully and evocatively retold by Beverley Birch. They are complemented by exquisite and atmospheric illustrations from Stephen Lambert. This special gift book is a perfect present to give and receive and one to treasure for ever.
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Lambert, Stephen 2004 Trade paperback New. Trade paperback (US). Sewn binding. 126 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: Children/juvenile.

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Overview

This wonderful collection contains four of Shakespeare's best-loved plays, beautifully and evocatively retold by Beverley Birch. They are complemented by exquisite and atmospheric illustrations from Stephen Lambert. This special gift book is a perfect present to give and receive and one to treasure for ever.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-These retellings of four of Shakespeare's best-known and perhaps best-loved plays are an attempt to provide students with prose adaptations of Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra, Othello, and The Tempest. The stories are reasonably well told-certainly better than those of "The Shakespeare Collection" series (Oxford, 2002). The language will be more familiar to modern readers than Charles and Mary Lamb's classic Tales from Shakespeare (Signet, 1986) or Marchette Chute's Stories from Shakespeare (New American Library, 1959), and the plots are generally easy to follow. However, unlike Bruce Coville's picture-book series (Dial), in quoting the character's speeches, Birch frequently changes the words of the originals. For instance, Hamlet's famous line "To die, to sleep, perchance to dream- Aye there's the rub" becomes "perhaps to dream- Aye there's the obstacle." Clear? Without question, but the author's brilliant poetry is totally lost. A bigger problem with the book, however, is the artwork. Lambert's watercolors are amateurish and repetitive, and some of them are distracting, even laughable. For example, in Hamlet, when Gertrude drops the poison cup, she looks as if she's sticking her tongue out at the troubled prince, and her orange hair and blue fingernails make her look more like a painted woman than a reigning queen. This version does not do justice either to Shakespeare's characters or to his poetic genius. Use Coville's adaptations to introduce the stories, and then treat students to the Bard's original plays.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Four plays—Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra, Othello, and The Tempest—are retold in pedestrian fashion with minimally appealing illustrations. The audience for these types of retellings is always questionable, but this particular collection has more trouble than most in finding one at all. There are many exclamation points and rhetorical questions, and though all of the dialogue is derived from the originals, it is often rewritten. In one particularly meretricious instance, the line from The Tempest, "we are such stuff as dreams are made on," is misquoted as "we are such stuff as dreams are made of." In every instance, characterization is reduced to flatness: Ophelia is a weak flower; Othello is jealous; Cleopatra is devious. There’s neither depth nor room for the lovely intricacies of Shakespeare’s people. The choice of plays is aimed at a somewhat older audience, but the inclusion of pictures seems to pitch it at a younger one. When you come right down to it, a 12-year-old is probably ready to see the plays, but this won’t work for them either: leaving out so much, it fails as a précis; and flattening the action and characters so, it fails as a study guide. With several better retellings available, this volume is unnecessary. (Nonfiction. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780340798911
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 4/28/2004
  • Pages: 126
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 10.76 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Table of Contents

Hamlet 7
Antony and Cleopatra 41
Othello 71
The Tempest 99
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