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Tales from Shakespeare Paperback – March 8, 2004


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 960L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (March 8, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763623237
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763623234
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.2 x 12.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-6-The success of Williams's Greek Myths for Young Children (Candlewick, 1992) is no surprise to those whose first exposure to the classics through "Classic Comics" led to a comfortable and even enthusiastic view of literature. The lively cartoon format never overwhelms the clear progress of the stories. While the technique used in her latest book may boggle the mind of a struggling adult, it should be child's play to average elementary-school readers. Each of the seven selections, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, The Winter's Tale, Julius Caesar, Midsummer Night's Dream, and The Tempest, is told as if it were on a stage, with cartoon panels carrying the actions and direct quotations from the play. The author's narration appears below the panels. An audience surrounds this presentation on three sides of each page. Not only are the stories complex and multilayered, but the byplay in the audience also further complicates these busy pages. As Hamlet struggles with his decision, orange sellers work a crowd that comments irreverently on the play. Queen Elizabeth I and Will himself appear at more than one production. Macbeth, which has a relatively simple story line, is told in larger panels and is not as hard to follow. The Winter's Tale is also not badly served by this treatment, although it's disappointing to find the most cartoonish stage direction in all of Shakespeare, "Exit, pursued by a bear," omitted. While it's hard to imagine anyone except maybe Robin Williams taking this on as a read-aloud, the kids who pore over detail in "Waldo" or Graeme Base's Animalia (Abrams, 1993) may graduate to enjoying an introduction to the plays in this format.
Sally Margolis, Barton Public Library, VT
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Williams uses the oversize, comic strip format of her King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (1996) and other picture books to evoke a sense of what it must have been like to attend performances of seven plays at the old Globe Theatre. As the actors stand in running panels atop prose plot summaries, declaiming well-chosen lines from the plays, in the borders men, women, and children of all ages (including, for sharp-eyed viewers, Queen Elizabeth and the Bard himself) watch, laugh, weep, shout smart comments, and fool around. Although watery gray backgrounds give Macbeth and parts of Hamlet a gloomy cast, the mood in general is boisterous: Juliet sprawls fetchingly on her balcony rail; donkey-headed Bottom curls a bespelled Titania's toes; one viewer bids a rowdy youth, "Buzz off," and another, seeing Macbeth waving a pair of gory daggers, opines, "I don't think this is quite suitable for children." On the contrary, although the names and plot twists may sometimes come too fast for some readers to keep straight, this offers an inviting taste of the Shakespearean buffet, as well as a rare glimpse into the character of Elizabethan theater. John Peters --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Highly recommended for introducing the love of Shakespeare to small children.
Joan
I got this for my 8 year old's birthday and he and his 12 year old brother loved it and read it any number of times!
D. Crisan
"Tales from Shakespeare" By Marcia Williams is the best way to explain Shakespeare.
C. Timmerman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
My eight-year old daughter and I delighted in reading these seven plays together! Marcia Williams has created a colorful, imaginative, fun way to present these wonderful plays so that the young reader gains an appreciation for Shakespeare's works and an insight into the historical period in which he presented them on stage. Each page contains whimsical illustrations, in strip style, wherein the characters speak lines from the plays, as well as a clearly written storyline. My daughter expecially chuckled over the humorous but often droll comments of scampering Globe audience memberas, framing the text of every page. You'll find Will himself is there, too! The events of the plays are not suger coated, though, so the tragedies do rack up a body count and the reader encounters the famous scenes of poisonings and revenge sought by the sword.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I thought this was a great book. I love anything by Marcia Williams. The illustrations are great and there are hillarious comments from the audience throughout the book. This is a great book for kids to enjoy and they also get the basic story line of seven of Shakespeare's most poupular plays. But most of all this book is just fun.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joan on May 31, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Tales from Shakespeare, illustrated by Marcia Williams ISBN 0-7636-0441-0 Hardback

(Beware of Amazon's policy to mix personal reviews and editorial reviews within item description of things with the same title but different editors, publishers, illustrators, binding, and so on. So far I only see the Marcia Williams volume linked here, but this can change.)

This volume includes Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth, The Winter's Tale, Julius Ceasar, and The Tempest. Each story is told comic book style in 4 pages. Excerpts of the original language are put with the illustrations. Beneath each illustrated strip is straightforward story telling of what is going on. Around the edges of each page are illustrations representing the audience from Shakespeare's time and theater humerously commenting on the play.

The illustrations are colorful and fun and completely within the spirit of Shakespeare. The reader experiences it as part of the audience of a Shakespeare play. I own multiple Marcia Williams illustrated works and love them so much I'm trying to collect all of them (but beware if you click on Marcia Williams, some of what Amazon lists is not illustrated by her).

The volume does a great job of summarizing each play while introducing the child to the fun language of Shakespeare. There is also the historical cultural element of what the audience would be like.

Highly recommended for introducing the love of Shakespeare to small children. Also recommended for adults who want to be introduced to Shakespeare but don't feel they can handle the full stories.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I really loved this book. It was really funny and I think it is a great book for all ages. The Illustrations were great. I recommend reading all of the books by Marcia Williams. I have only read three, Joseph and the Magnificent Coat of Many Colors, The Amazing story of Noah's ark and this one, but we just ordered the one about Jonah and the whale. Buy it right now! You will love it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By dee on May 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
My 1st graders and preschoolers loved hearing Shakespeare presented in a way they could understand. I love that the author includes quotes from the play along with simple to understand language. The illustrations are great and bring the story's to life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kaui on November 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
Marcia Williams' series is a wonderful way to introduce erudite topics to a young child. I have an 8 year old boy who is an avid reader, and is currently completely enthralled with the Percy Jackson series. With all of the Greek and Roman mythology, my child has devoured Marcia William's mythology and Illiad/Odyssey books. The illustrations are tasteful, accurate and pleasing to the eye. The summaries strike just the right balance of being readable and accurate. I highly recommend this series to anyone wanting to push the horizons of their little ones (or even themselves). My son is just starting the Shakespeare books and he's into them! I can't wait to discuss the plays with him!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tania Cloyce Ambrys on June 22, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My daughter has loved meeting Shakespeare in this comic book format. It is a great introduction to the stories although not the poetry, but for an 8 year old, that's just fine. When it's time for her to face the language, she will already be interested in the story. I question putting Macbeth in a book for kids, however. We found it too disturbing and scary for this age. The comedies however were great.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I really loved this book. It was really funny and I think it is a great book for all ages. The Illustrations were great. I recommend reading all of the books by Marcia Williams. I have only read three, Joseph and the Magnificent Coat of Many Colors, The Amazing story of Noah's ark and this one, but we just ordered the one about Jonah and the whale. Buy it right now! You will love it!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Marcia Williams is famous for her retellings of classic stories. From Shakespeare and Dickens to the Canterbury Tales and Greek Myths, her humorous comic-strip illustration is hugely popular all over the globe. She lives in London.

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