William Shakespeare

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
What a book! In little more than a hundred pages, the reader gets a carefully researched and well-written story of Shakespeare's life and times plus a list of sources, a three-page bibliography and suggestions for further reading. Along with those are a chart of English monarchs from Henry VII to James I, a genealogy of the Shakespeare family, a time line of his life, a list of his works and of course, an index. As the author tells the story, she carefully lets the reader know what is fact, what is speculation and what is myth. She begins by quoting the well-known selection from "As You Like It" Act II, scene vii, about the seven ages of man, then uses those as quotes under chapter headings to divide the stages of Shakespeare's life. She includes information about his times that gives us insight into his work. For instance, she tells us that during the reign of James I, there was quite a furor over witches. This certainly influenced Shakespeare to include the three old crones in "Macbeth," written at that time. Special pages add interesting bits of information such as one titled "Anne Hathaway's House" that quotes Celia's response to Oliver in "As You Like It" (Act IV, scene iii), and tells that some scholars believe it is a description of Anne Hathaway's house. This is a fascinating and accessible book. 2002, Lerner Publication, $25.26. Ages 9 up. Reviewer: Janet Crane Barley
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-While biographies of the Bard may be almost as abundant as productions of his plays, this title is worth considering. The text is written in a clear, easy-to-follow prose style. In chapters corresponding to the "Seven Ages of Man" in As You Like It, the author tells Shakespeare's story (with emphasis on his success as both poet and playwright) while providing background information on customs, politics, and daily life in Elizabethan England. Although most of the story may be familiar, the author includes a few lesser-known details. She does not idly speculate about the many unknown facets of her subject's life; rather, she refers to other sources (e.g., biographer Nicholas Rowe and Shakespeare's contemporary Robert Greene) to support her text. She also quotes Shakespeare liberally, allowing his words to clarify her points. High-quality photos and engravings add information and clarification, and sidebars cover a variety of related topics, from comparative currency values to the Black Plague. The text is followed by a brief genealogy, a fairly extensive bibliography, up-to-date suggestions for further reading, and a thorough index. The book is geared to an older audience than Diane Stanley and Peter Vennema's Bard of Avon (Morrow, 1992) and will be more accessible to casual readers than Marchette Chute's classic Shakespeare of London (Dutton, 1949; o.p.). A welcome addition.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822549963
  • Publisher: Lerner Publications (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Publication date: 11/28/2001
  • Series: Biographies Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 112
  • Age range: 11 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 1120L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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