nonfiction nuggets…starring Shakespeare!

William Shakespeare and the Globe, written and illustrated by Aliki

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts.
        As You Like It, II, 7

Ah!  Shakespeare!  Some years back now, a group of us put on a Shakespeare play each spring, with all of our children, ages 4-18 as the cast!  To begin with, we mothers and our children had not much of an idea what we were doing!  Ridiculous things happened.  The mothers had nightmares before the shows.  As the years went by, acting ability and costumes and props and scenery and music and lights all vastly improved.  But the great thing was, the kids learned to love Shakespeare.  They didn’t love him because they were supposed to.  They loved him because his stories were so clever and his characters landed in such funny predicaments in the comedies we performed.

In the process, we discovered Aliki’s book — a colorful, lively, absorbing account of Will’s life as well as the life of the Globe Theatre.  There are many wonderful books about Shakespeare for children, but here is why I love this one:

* It is chock full of pictures — and Aliki is such a delightful illustrator!  She gives us glimpses of quiet towns and bustling markets, actors in bright, imaginative costumes, and Queen Elizabeth herself. 
* Shakespeare’s own words are sprinkled here and there on the pages…lines from his plays hover in a corner here and beside a tiny cameo there.  Such fun to spy and read.
*She includes the story of the Globe itself, including a whole chapter on the rebuilding of the Globe currently in
London, which is very interesting.
*She tucks information in nooks and crannies about all kinds of things — criminals in London, early theatres, famous clowns in the Elizabethan era…
*She includes a list of Shakespeare’s works, sites to visit if you are lucky enough to be in England, and perhaps best of all, an incredible listing of some of the 2000 words and expressions Shakespeare invented.

Truly, this is a visual feast and a gold mine of information presented in a very accessible format.  Highly recommended for

My name is Will Shakespeare, and I recommend this book.

ages 4 to adult!