Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Shakespeare Resources for Children

Shakespeare Week led to one of my children wanting to know more about some of the plays. We have used two resources to help with this but I have looked at a couple more in order to explore the plays in more depth.

The Shakespeare Stories
These are short paperbacks by Andrew Matthews and illustrated by Tony Ross. Each book can be read aloud in a sitting and are also suitable for early readers. I don't have a complete set of all of these books but there are 15 in all-a play per title. Each book also has notes about Shakespeare and the Globe and about a feature of the particular play.
It was these books that really piqued my daughter's interest.

Mr Shakespeare's Plays and Bravo, Mr William Shakespeare
Marcia Williams wrote these in her usual comic strip style. These are popular with my children but not easy to read aloud. Each book covers seven plays. These books are particularly attractive to flick though and a big bonus, are available in our local library.

Shakespeare Stories
This book is by Leon Garfield and is a step up from the previous two: the tales are longer and contain more real quotes. This book covers 12 plays but there is also a second volume which I haven't seen covering a further nine plays. I plan to read Shakespeare Stories, with my daughter, when we start to look at a play in more detail.

Lambs' Tales from Shakespeare

These are two much older books and are available free from the Guttenburg Press. They date from 1807 and were written by Charles and Mary Lamb, a brother and sister team. They are a little dated. The preface talks about boys being generally permitted the use of their fathers' libraries at a much earlier age than girls are, they frequently have the best scenes by heart, before their sisters are permitted to look into this manly book; and, therefore, instead of recommending these Tales to the perusal, of young gentlemen who can read them so much better in the originals, their kind assistance is rather requested in explaining to their sisters such parts as are hardest for them to understand.
Aside from the preface, Lamb covers more plays than the other volumes and is free. Each tale is longer than in the first two sets of books but shorter than in the Garfield.

Have you used these children's Shakespeare resources? Would you recommend any others?

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