For the majority, William Shakespeare isn't introduced to young readers until around their GCSE's when a range of Shakespeare's most popular plays are introduced. And even these plays can be almost a culture shock compared to the mass market books on offer today. Shakespearean language, content and flow are not for the fainthearted, but his plays and poetry are filled with wit and wisdom, tenderness and magic, mischief and merriment. William Shakespeare is one of the greatest playwrights the World has ever known and I was very lucky to be introduced to his imagination at such a young age through Andrew Matthews collection of Shakespeare stories.
If you’re looking for a child friendly twist on Shakespeare stories then I can’t recommend this series of books by Andrew Matthews and illustrator Tony Ross enough. There are 16 of William Shakespeare’s most popular and engaging plays within the collection of paperbacks and each makes an excellent introduction to Shakespeare for young readers. Tony Ross’s captivating illustrations is what brings these classic plays to life with a unique and new twist, and Andrew Matthew’s writing is accessible and simplified to make the plays more understandable and enjoyable for young readers.
There are lots of other fantastic child approachable Shakespeare stories and here are some of my favourites.
The Orchard Book of Classic Shakespeare Verse by Gina Pollinger, illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark
An exquisite collection of Shakespeare's writing featuring favourite passages of verse, familiar to many, along with lesser-known pieces, all of which sparkle in the mind and fire the imagination.
The poems and verse have been carefully selected to ensure that even younger readers develop a lifelong love of the Bard and his timeless legacy.
Published by Hachette Children's Group you can shop this book via Waterstones here.
A Stage Full of Shakespeare Stories by Angela McAllister, illustrated by Alice Lindstrom
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.
Published by Frances Lincoln Publishers Ltd you can shop this book via Waterstones here.
Poetry for Kids: William Shakespeare edited by Marguerite Tassi, illustrated by Merce Lopez
This beautifully illustrated hardback book offers an enchanting introduction into the work of William Shakespeare. With more than thirty of his most famous and accessible verses, sonnets, and speeches, the words and poetry of one of the greatest playwrights in history is magically brought to life on the page.
With whimsical, watercolour illustrations by rising talent, Merce Lopez, each poem is also accompanied with an explanation by an expert and definitions of important words to give kids and parents the fullest explanation of their content and impact.
Usborne have published some beautiful hardback illustrated stories of Shakespeare that make a perfect introduction into Shakespeare's plays and poetry.
You can shop The Usborne Complete Shakespeare via Waterstones here. The Usborne Illustrated Stories from Shakespeare here, and the shrink-wrapped, luxurious cloth-bound edition, making it a gift to treasure here.
Tales from Shakespeare by Marcia Williams
Marcia Williams retells fourteen of Shakespeare's best-loved plays in her trademark witty, accessible style. Take your seats in the Globe Theatre as Marcia Williams presents fourteen of Shakespeare's most famous plays. From the heartbreaking tragedy of Romeo and Juliet to Puck's hilarious escapades in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Marcia brings Shakespeare's stories vividly to life.
Published by Walker Books Ltd you can shop this book via Waterstones here.
As for Shakespeare inspired books suitable for younger children, around 5-8 years of age, Shakespeare Sticker Book and See Inside World of Shakespeare. both published by Usborne are fantastic! Shakespeare Stick Book allows children to tread the boards and learn about William Shakespeare with these hilarious and progressive sticker scenes. And See Inside World of Shakespeare takes you back 400 years to visit rowdy playhouses and royal palaces and discover Shakespeare's tales of doomed princes and mischievous fairies causing trouble. With over 70 flaps to lift and lively illustrations, this book brings to life the world of Shakespeare and his best-loved works from Romeo and Juliet to A Midsummer Night's Dream.
© 2018 Bluebird Reviews