This is from an advance review copy, for which to the publisher I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks!
This book was a little bit different from what I expected, but there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. For me, I thought it might be Shakespeare's words altered somewhat to facilitate children's reading, but in fact the text was untouched. What editor Marguerite Tassi (on the faculty of University of Nebraska-Kearney, and much published on many aspects of Shakespeare's work) did was to choose the pieces, include them unaltered in any way, but to add a short glossary after each to explain some of the more obscure or more readily misunderstood terms. Language use and meaning changes significantly in four hundred years!
There is also included some notes at the end on "What William was thinking," and an index. I read this on an iPad and what I would have liked to have seen was a means to get back to the contents page from a given excerpt. From that screen you can get to any item with a tap, but once you've shuffled off this mortal contents, you can't get back except by sliding the bar at the bottom of the page which oft trigger'd Apple's pop-up bar, and it was annoying. To link or not to link, that is the question!
Talented and Spanish-born artist Mercè López contributed illustrations for many of the excerpts. The illustrations, well-aimed at children, served to leaven what otherwise would have been a landscape solely of text and perhaps, because of that, a tragically undiscover'd country. It's a pity the editor doesn't hail from the same place as the illustrator, because then it could have been billed as 'Two Gentlewomen of Barcelona'. But it was not to be!
There are over thirty selections here, so there is no arguing over what was the most unkindest cut of all, because if they are mark'd to read, they are enough. Let us not wish for one choice more; the fewer options, the greater share of honour each derives! The excerpts were a fine selection in my amateur opinion, and made for some great reading if you're at all a fan of Shakespeare. The choice selection (There's a double meaning in that!) is as follows:
- All the World’s a Stage from As You Like It
- O, for a Muse of Fire from Henry V
- We Were, Fair Queen from The Winter’s Tale
- Over Hill, Over Dale from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
- Round About the Cauldron Go from Macbeth
- Under the Greenwood Tree from As You Like It
- Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day? (sonnet)
- O Romeo, Romeo, Wherefore Art Thou Romeo? from Romeo and Juliet
- Now Is the Winter of Our Discontent from Richard III
- If Music Be the Food of Love from Twelfth Night
- How Sweet the Moonlight Sleeps Upon this Bank! from The Merchant of Venice
- O, She Doth Teach the Torches to Burn Bright! from Romeo and Juliet
- O Mistress Mine, Where Are You Roaming? from Twelfth Night
- What Light Is Light, if Silvia Be Not Seen? from The Two Gentlemen of Verona
- But Soft, What Light Through Yonder Window Breaks? from Romeo and Juliet
- My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun (sonnet)
- The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
- Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds (sonnet)
- Cowards Die Many Times Before Their Deaths from Julius Caesar
- Once More Unto the Breach from Henry V
- All Furnish’d, All in Arms from Henry IV, Part 1
- The Quality of Mercy Is Not Strain’d from The Merchant of Venice
- Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Ears from Julius Caesar
- All That Glitters Is Not Gold from The Merchant of Venice
- That Time of Year Thou Mayst in Me Behold (sonnet)
- To Be, or Not to Be, That Is the Question from Hamlet
- Blow, Winds, and Crack Your Cheeks! from King Lear
- To-morrow, and To-morrow, and To-morrow from Macbeth
- Why, Man, He Doth Bestride the Narrow World from Julius Caesar
- If We Shadows Have Offended from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
- Our Revels Now Are Ended from The Tempest
But soft, what a great way to get kids involved, especially if they can read and you can get them to get all dramatic and really speak these words from the heart with spirit and energy. O for a muse of fire! Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious reading by this daughter of Baltimore! I recommend this.