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A Midsummer Night's Dream
     

A Midsummer Night's Dream

by Leon Garfield (Abridged by), Elena Prorokova (Illustrator), William Shakespeare (Based On Work by)
 

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Shakespeare's intertwined love polygons begin to get complicated from the start--Demetrius and Lysander both want Hermia but she only has eyes for Lysander. Bad news is, Hermia's father wants Demetrius for a son-in-law. On the outside is Helena, whose unreturned love burns hot for Demetrius. Hermia and Lysander plan to flee from the city under cover of darkness but

Overview

Shakespeare's intertwined love polygons begin to get complicated from the start--Demetrius and Lysander both want Hermia but she only has eyes for Lysander. Bad news is, Hermia's father wants Demetrius for a son-in-law. On the outside is Helena, whose unreturned love burns hot for Demetrius. Hermia and Lysander plan to flee from the city under cover of darkness but are pursued by an enraged Demetrius (who is himself pursued by an enraptured Helena). In the forest, unbeknownst to the mortals, Oberon and Titania (King and Queen of the faeries) are having a spat over a servant boy. The plot twists up when Oberon's head mischief-maker, Puck, runs loose with a flower which causes people to fall in love with the first thing they see upon waking. Throw in a group of labourers preparing a play for the Duke's wedding (one of whom is given a donkey's head and Titania for a lover by Puck) and the complications become fantastically funny.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Coville follows up his version of The Tempest (see p. 84) with a retelling of another of Shakespeare's most popular plays. The fundamental story of magic, mischief and the trials and tribulations of love is preserved through well-chosen use of the original language and Coville's heady prose ("The queen... saw the ass-headed monstrosity through magic-drenched eyes"). Major plot lines are clearly and concisely rendered, but it is the portrayal of the various levels of humor-from Bottom's buffoonery to Puck's gleeful magic-making-that really captures the essence of the play. Nolan's (Dinosaur Dream) sumptuous, painterly watercolors highlight the theatrical setting of the spellbound wood. Gnarled, mossy trees provide the backdrop for a cast of unusually youthful lovers, gossamer-winged fairies (which nod at Rackham's famous interpretations) and a truly puckish Puck. A first-rate entre to the Bard. Ages 7-up. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Sheree Van Vreede
Who says Shakespeare isn't for kids? Certainly not this author/teacher and her second and third grade students. This book is part of a series by Lois Brudett called "Shakespeare Can Be Fun." The story is told through rhyme and the students' illustrations. Shakespeare is presented in a manner that is understandable to children without lessening the quality of the work. Perhaps the best part of the book is how it displays the students' interpretations. We see it through their eyes.
Children's Literature - Eileen Hanning
Midsummer Night's Dream is Bruce Coville's second retold Shakespeare tale. He handles the complexities skillfully. Illustrations by Nolan are a wonderful mix of detailed realism, powerful human emotions, and playful magic. Pictures give a sense of Nolan romping through his illustrations, whether he's capturing the impishness of Puck, foolishness of Bottom, or conflict of the lovers. Kindly, he gives character portraits on the end papers and we definitely used them in untangling the threads of the maze-like story.
Library Journal
One in a series of new editions of Shakespeare's plays, A Midsummer Night's Dream is suitable for use in high schools and compares very favorably with other editions currently available. The text is clear, and notes on the facing page make for easy reference. The edition includes an introduction to the play and to Shakespeare and a brief but useful note on Shakespeare's language and on the Globe theater. At the back are act-by-act study questions, writing assignments, and suggestions for other creative activities.-Bryan Aubrey, Fairfield, Ia.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3An adaptation of the play retold in rhyming couplets. The greatest strength of the presentation is in the contributions of Burdett's elementary-age students. The obviously neatened-up drawings of the characters in various scenes are done in brightly colored markers on white backgrounds and retain many stylistic traits unique to young creators. So, too, do the diary entries of the characters, letters between them, and other documents supplied by the youngsters and reproduced (complete with their creative spelling) on most pages. The charm of this precocious output will appeal more to adults than to children. The verse (the actual story of the play) does manage to scan throughout without noticeable forcing, but is rather heavy-handed. The most graceful phrases are the few that are direct quotes from the play. Unfortunately, nothing in this book distinguishes Burdett's words from the Bard's. This book is one of the end results of an extensive learning project that includes a performance by the children. Unfortunately, the active experience of all this creation is only hinted at on the page.Sally Margolis, formerly at Deerfield Public Library, IL
Kirkus Reviews
William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream ( PLB Oct. 1996; 48 pp.; 0-8037-1784-6; PLB 0-8037-1785-7): Coville (Fortune's Journey, 1995, etc.) gracefully retells this famous comedy, retaining just enough of Shakespeare's language to lend a sense of the world of the play without overwhelming picture- book readers. Nolan conjures a magical world of Mediterranean-blue skies and gloomy enchanted forests, helpfully including endpaper portraits of the cast of characters. As an introduction to the real thing, this may be useful to older readers who want to have the plot and characters in mind before they enter Shakespeare's realm.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679838708
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
03/23/1993
Series:
Shakespeare: The Animated Tales Series
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
7.87(w) x 10.24(h) x (d)
Age Range:
10 Years

Read an Excerpt

"You've got to be kidding!" Helena cried,

"I know, it's Hermia, you want for your bride."

"Not a chance!" said Lysander, "It's you I love!

Who will not change a raven for a dove?"

"Give me a break!" Helena scoffed in dismay,

"Do you think I was born yesterday?

Your speech to me is like a thorn;

How dare you treat me with such scorn!"

Then she stomped off, in great disdain;

Lysander followed with a loving refrain.

Meet the Author

Lois Burdett's success in introducing Shakespeare to children is reflected in her growing international reputation. Her books and workshops for teachers have captured the attention and imagination of parents, educators, and lovers of Shakespeare around the world, including the American National Council of Teachers of English and the International Reading Association. Among other commendations, Lois Burdett has received Encyclopedia Britannica's National Award for Early Childhood Education, Canada's Meritorious Service Medal, the Canadian Teachers' Federation's Hilroy Fellowship, and two writers' awards. Burdett's many speaking engagements have included the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English. Her books, magazine articles, presentations and media interviews are testimony to her strong influence in the education community, where she has also been instrumental in helping teachers to incorporate Shakespeare into early grade curricula.

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