October 31, 2016

Shakespeare for kids

Tales from Shakespeare
presented and illustrated by Marcia Williams

Marcia Williams retells Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, The Winter’s Tale, Julius Caesar, and The Tempest in comic book style, making Shakespeare palatable for elementary students. The plays are presented as if they are being held in London’s Globe Theatre, complete with noisy patrons, Queen Elizabeth I, and Shakespeare himself! She and the playwright are hidden in the pages, adding a seek-and-find game to the proceedings. 

The actors quote Shakespeare’s words, while a summary of the action is told underneath the pictures. The spectators, who surround three sides of the page, provide a running commentary on the action. They are often funny, irreverent, rude, and hungry, as evidenced by the many food vendors hawking their wares.

With an abundance of action to follow, the pages often have a crowded feel that can confuse rather than elucidate. The plays tend to work better when larger picture panels are used instead. This tends to benefit the tragedies more than the comedies. The Winter’s Tale is the best.

All-in-all, it’s not a bad way to introduce Shakespeare to young readers.

If you enjoy Tales from Shakespeare, you may also like More Tales from Shakespeare, in which Williams retells As You Like It, King Lear, Much Ado about Nothing, Antony and Cleopatra, Twelfth Night, The Merchant of Venice, and Richard III

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