Published September 6th 2018 by Lincoln Children’s Books
A Stage Full of Shakespeare Stories, by Angela McAllister, is a colorfully illustrated retelling of Shakespeare’s plays aimed at young readers. Using contemporary prose, it offers a creative way to introduce children and tweens to Shakespeare’s famous works. The blurb about this book says it can be enjoyed by children 5 and up, but I am recommending this one for middle grades and up (10 to 14). It includes a variety of his plays, both comedies and tragedies. Some are extremely well known (Romeo and Juliet) and others not as much (Much Ado About Nothing). There were several plays that I had to read in high school English and this would have been a nice supplement to the old English prose. Each retelling includes an opening quote from the bard himself, and a cast of characters, and consists of about 6 pages of prose. This retelling will get the main plot across as well as who the characters are.
That said, a contemporary retelling like this (even one done very well) – will never serve as a replacement for the plays themselves. This would make a great introduction to one of the plays and then the reader, their family, or a class could attend the play that is performed with young viewers in mind. I ended up enjoying this collection. My two favourites, MacBeth and King Lear were both represented. Even though the target audience is children, the author does not beat around the bush with any of the principal themes in these plays. The character’s motives and personalities come across clear as day. The layout is eye-catching and the illustrations are unique and add much to the understanding of the story. This would make a great addition to an elementary school library. The publisher, Lincoln Children’s Books, generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
About the Book (From Goodreads): Step on to a stage full of stories with this beautiful anthology of 12 stories from Shakespeare. Featuring much-loved classics such as The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Othello, each story is rewritten in a comprehensive way that is accessible for children and stunningly illustrated by collage artist Alice Lindstrom. This lavish follow-up to A Year Full of Stories and A World Full of Animal Stories is the perfect gift for book lovers young and old.
About the Author: ANGELA MCALLISTER is the author of over 70 books for children and teens. Her books have won several awards, including the Red House Book Award for Yuck! That’s Not a Monster! and the Stockport and Portsmouth Awards for My Mum has X-Ray Vision. Her picture book, Leon and the Place Between has been adapted for the stage and was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Award. She has collaborated with many illustrators, including Grahame Baker-Smith, Alex T. Smith, Margaret Chamberlain, Ross Collins and Peter Bailey. She lives in Hampshire with her husband and their two children, who are often the inspiration for her stories.