Mini Reviews (11) – Shakespeare for Children

The kids and I have been studying Shakespeare since September. We start with E. Nesbit (easiest to understand), continue on to David Timson (more detail), and conclude with Charles and Mary Lamb (most original Shakespeare).

Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children by E. Nesbit
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Shakespeare Stories by David Timson
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Here are my mini reviews for each version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, and Romeo and Juliet.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

E. Nesbit – The language isn’t as Shakespearean as the Lamb version, but that makes it easier for children to understand.

Daivd Timson – This version contains more details than either Nesbit’s or Lamb’s. It is easy to understand AND includes plenty of the original lines.

Charles and Mary Lamb – I, personally, love this version as it uses a fair amount of Shakespeare’s own language. My children, however, were still pretty confused as to what was going on. A Midsummer Night’s Dream has a complicated plot and is based on confusion, so it’s no surprise that they found it hard to follow.

Twelfth Night:

E. Nesbit – I had to explain the story to my kids after reading it. It IS pretty confusing.

David Timson – The kids said this one was easier to understand (although that could be because they’re already familiar with it now). I appreciate that this version included the Malvolio plot.

Charles and Mary Lamb – Easy to understand but still retaining Shakespeare’s charm. Why do the versions for kids usually leave out the Malvolio plot?

Romeo and Juliet:

E. Nesbit – This version is clear enough for youngsters to understand, without being overly graphic. I talked with my children afterward about how this story is NOT a great romance. It is a cautionary tale to adults who hold grudges for no good reason.

David Timson – The retelling is decent, although my son pointed out that Romeo’s fight with Paris was eliminated. I had to deduct a bit for the giggle inducing sound effects on the audio – squeaky, smacky kisses, as well as gurgling noises when the lovers drank their various potions.

Charles and Mary Lamb – It’s been awhile since I read this version or saw Shakespeare’s play. I had forgotten the part about young ladies pretending not to love their lovers (so that’s where P&P’s Mr. Collins got the idea!). This is a beautiful story, but NOT a great love story. As my son so wisely pointed out – they don’t even know each other!



Top Five Tuesday: Bookish “R”

The adorable Erin @ Raised Reading did a fun meme awhile back. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to tweak it and use it for a series of Top Five Tuesday posts. I’m going to attempt a top five bookish list for all 26 letters of the alphabet (this could get a little dicey towards the end!).

Other posts in this series:
“A”   “B”   “C”   “D”   “E”   “F”   “G”   “H”   “I”   “J”   “K”   “L”  “M”  “N”  “O”  “P”  “Q”

Picture Book – The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
Middle Grade Book – The Railway Children by E. Nesbit
YA or Adult Book – Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
TBR – Resorting to Murder: Holiday Mysteries: A British Library Crime Classic by Martin Edwards
Author – J. K. Rowling




20 Books of Summer Mini Reviews, Wrap Up

The challenge runs June 1 – September 4 (tomorrow!), and is hosted by Cathy @ 746 Books. For my complete list, see my sign up post. Mini (Goodreads) reviews of my first 15 books can be found here,  here, and here. Now for the last 5:

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The 3rd star is because my kids liked it. For myself, I was not impressed. The children in the book were often horrible (not charmingly mischievous, not dreamily inattentive, just downright awful), except when Heidi was being a sugary sweet Mary Sue. I greatly prefer the Shirley Temple film version! The Railway Children by E. Nesbit

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Perfectly fine children’s book. Not as charming as Nesbit’s fantasy books, but fun. I enjoyed the equal time between the children, making this neither a “boy” book or “girl” book.

 Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

A strong Poirot entry but doesn’t hold up to a re-read as well as some others, perhaps because it’s very memorable.

NOTE: I substituted this re-read for The Golem and the Jinni. I got about 1/3 of the way through and realized it was just too dense for the light reading I was craving. I will pick it up again next year.

 The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The Secret Garden is an interesting book to read right after Heidi. Heidi being 30 years older, it’s possible that it actually inspired the similar elements (orphaned MC, invalid friend in a wheelchair, fresh air / good food = cure). The Secret Garden however, is MUCH more interesting with its Gothic setting, Yorkshire accents, and well developed characters. I’m supremely glad I listened to the audiobook rather than reading aloud to my kids – let someone else deal with reading broad Yorkshire aloud. 😜

Ink on His Fingers by Louise A. Vernon

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Hmm . . . this wasn’t as great as I remembered. The story was occasionally confusing and Gutenberg wasn’t the main character. Still, the kids enjoyed it and learned something about German culture in the 1450s.

NOTE: I substituted this one for The Bronze Bow. School snuck up on me and I had to switch from summer reading to school reading.

See my final complete list here.