A Stage Full of Shakespeare Stories by Angela McAllister
Step on to a stage full of stories with this beautiful anthology of 12 stories from Shakespeare.
Including favourites such as The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet and Othello, this book takes the best from the Bard and rewrites them to be accessible to children.
The book is an artwork in itself. Collage artist Alice Lindstrom’s illustrations are breath-taking. Lindstrom’s paper collage is highly detailed, intricate and textured. She uses traditional cut and paste techniques, painting and preparing the paper beforehand, then cutting and assembling it. A Stage Full of Shakespeare Stories is her first children’s book and it is a stunning debut.
Each story is thoughtfully rewritten to make it more accessible to younger readers. While each has been simplified, the essence of the original story is very much intact. The Bard’s more famous lines and quotes are honoured and remain.
While marketed at children older than seven, it would be a more comfortable fit for those in the upper primary school level, purely because of the topics Shakespeare covers. McAllister didn’t shy away from the tragedy plays, with Macbeth, King Lear and Hamlet all included.
Each story takes on its own chapter, with a cast of characters headlining each, along with a single quote and title page. A clean contents page and chapter indicators on each page will also help independent readers conquer Shakespeare solo.
A page about Shakespeare himself offers more information and a full list of his plays is a nice touch. McAllister also offers a one paragraph summary about each of the featured plays. Each summary offers a bit of background or inspiration about the play.
With its hardcover, incredible illustrations and simple rewrites of some of the world’s most popular stories, A Stage Full of Shakespeare Stories deserves the spotlight. It would be a wonderful gift to readers of any age, becoming a well-loved treasury to be handed down the generations.
Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser
Quatro Group, RRP $27.99