Tales from Shakespeare: Seven Plays

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Shakespeare made accessible for young readers!
Come wend your way along London’s Thames River to the Globe Theatre, where seven favorite Shakespearean plays are being performed! Marcia Williams brings to life ROMEO AND JULIET, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, JULIUS CAESAR, HAMLET, MACBETH, THE WINTER'S TALE, and THE TEMPESTt, making liberal use of Shakespeare’s rich dialogue. With the help of her signature comic-strip style, the Bard’s 400-year-old masterworks become as relevant to ...
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Overview

Shakespeare made accessible for young readers!
Come wend your way along London’s Thames River to the Globe Theatre, where seven favorite Shakespearean plays are being performed! Marcia Williams brings to life ROMEO AND JULIET, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, JULIUS CAESAR, HAMLET, MACBETH, THE WINTER'S TALE, and THE TEMPESTt, making liberal use of Shakespeare’s rich dialogue. With the help of her signature comic-strip style, the Bard’s 400-year-old masterworks become as relevant to young readers today as they were to theatergoers way back then.

Retells seven of Shakespeare's plays--"Romeo and Juliet," "Hamlet," "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Macbeth," "The Winter's Tale," "Julius Caesar," and "The Tempest"--in comic book format.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Williams presents a septet of the Bard's plays in comic strip format, incorporating Shakespeare's dialogue along with additional synopsis and commentary. "This lively approach will ensure that kids know Shakespeare's plays first as great entertainment," noted PW. Ages 8-12. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Cheryl Peterson
Seven of William Shakespeare's most famous plays are presented in this book: Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, A Midsummer's Night Dream, MacBeth, Julius Caesar, The Winter's Tale, and The Tempest. The plays are retold in comic-strip style with brightly colored cartoon illustrations. The actor's dialogue uses the words Shakespeare actually wrote, and the story of the play is paraphrased underneath in an easy-to-read style. The plays are illustrated as being performed at the Globe Theatre (where they were originally performed in the 1500's), with the famously rude and noisy spectators around the stage. Young readers will especially enjoy the humorous hecklers! A wonderful way to introduce readers to the treasures of Shakespeare, and it may even lead them to an interest in the original plays.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-6-The success of Williams's Greek Myths for Young Children (Candlewick, 1992) is no surprise to those whose first exposure to the classics through "Classic Comics" led to a comfortable and even enthusiastic view of literature. The lively cartoon format never overwhelms the clear progress of the stories. While the technique used in her latest book may boggle the mind of a struggling adult, it should be child's play to average elementary-school readers. Each of the seven selections, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, The Winter's Tale, Julius Caesar, Midsummer Night's Dream, and The Tempest, is told as if it were on a stage, with cartoon panels carrying the actions and direct quotations from the play. The author's narration appears below the panels. An audience surrounds this presentation on three sides of each page. Not only are the stories complex and multilayered, but the byplay in the audience also further complicates these busy pages. As Hamlet struggles with his decision, orange sellers work a crowd that comments irreverently on the play. Queen Elizabeth I and Will himself appear at more than one production. Macbeth, which has a relatively simple story line, is told in larger panels and is not as hard to follow. The Winter's Tale is also not badly served by this treatment, although it's disappointing to find the most cartoonish stage direction in all of Shakespeare, "Exit, pursued by a bear," omitted. While it's hard to imagine anyone except maybe Robin Williams taking this on as a read-aloud, the kids who pore over detail in "Waldo" or Graeme Base's Animalia (Abrams, 1993) may graduate to enjoying an introduction to the plays in this format.-Sally Margolis, Barton Public Library, VT
Kirkus Reviews
Seven playsþRomeo and Juliet, MacBeth, The Tempest, The Winter's Tale, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Julius Caesar, and Hamletþhave been condensed into the comic-strip panels of Williams's other retellings (The Iliad and the Odyssey, 1996, etc.); Shakespeare's words are spouted by the performers, summaries of the plot appear beneath the frames, and Elizabethan-era playgoers heckle and comment from the sides and bottom of every pageþe.g., "Go on! Kiss her." Some plays take up two or three spreads, but for all their compactness, these condensations are surprisingly clear and faithful. The plays are newly accessible to a contemporary audience; with 40-50 players and members of the audience on every page, there humor in every corner and high drama in most frames. Every play is given its own palette; Macbeth's is appropriately ghostly and spooky, while A Midsummer Night's Dream is suitably sprightly and exhaustively antic. For readers familiar with the plays, the synopses are amusing and the watercolor depictions impressive; for those using this work as an entry to Shakespeare's works, welcome. (Picture book. 8-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763604417
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 960L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.31 (w) x 12.75 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Marcia Williams went to visit the Globe Theatre while it was being rebuilt. "It wasn't until I was actually there," she says, "that the full impact of the environment hit me. Elizabethan actors didn't rehearse; and the audience was encouraged to cheer when they liked something and to shout (and throw things) when they didn't. It must have been quite a scene."
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