A Stage Full of Shakespeare Stories
Angela McAllister, illustrated by Alice Lindstrom
Lincoln Children’s Books
I was one of those not turned off Shakespeare at school despite having to study several plays between the ages of 11 and 16 and my favourite, despite having to ‘do’ it for O-level, remains Twelfth Night. This is largely thanks to an amazing English teacher that I had throughout my time at grammar school, who managed to bring out the magic of the plays we read and now the beauty of the language completely enthrals me. So, I wasn’t sure what I’d make of A Stage Full of Shakespeare Stories wherein Angela McAllister retells a dozen of the bard’s most popular plays, both comedies and tragedies.
However, she does it in such a way that young readers will be engaged immediately . Each one is introduced with a quote and a pictorial cast of characters, and the tellings themselves are up to date so that youngsters will quickly find themselves immersed in the story, be that of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night,
Much Ado About Nothing, King Lear, The Tempest
or any of the others included.
Alice Lindstrom’s artwork, whether a full page illustration, or a smaller one, is absolutely fabulous, really capturing the atmosphere of each tale, drawing in the audience and making them feel as though they’re watching a staged performance.
Also included is a wealth of information about the great man himself, a complete list of his plays and a taster paragraph about each of the twelve plays herein.
Yes, we have lost the Bard’s awesome language here, but instead, what Angela McAllister offers is access to that language for youngsters by way of stories that can be read aloud to an individual or class; or read alone, before the exam treadmill turns them off from the riches that are Shakespeare’s legacy.