What are the best Shakespeare books for kids?May 03, 2016

The literary world will observe Shakespeare's death anniversary on May 3, with a line up of activities to honour his works. Organisers have adults on mind, which will prompt some to wonder about kids. They're too young to understand Middle Age English. Moreover, watching another theatrical production of a Shakespeare play is not a good option. (They might become restless after the first act.) Last but not least, they won't even think about a celluloid version of the Bard's play. (They can't wait for the summer movies.) No need to worry, as there are other options to consider.

You consider drawing, but Shakespeare's portrait may not inspire them. It will be silly to purchase plane tickets to England. You almost forgot television until reality TV programs came to mind (Why did you ever think of it?). And then something came up. It crossed your mind, but you never gave it any consideration. Can there be a Shakespeare book for younger children? Yes. No doubt about it.

Love, jealousy, and family feuds are common themes in Shakespeare's plays, and it shouldn't come as a surprise that the modern generation can relate to it. (Either humans remain the same or there are too many reality TV shows. It can also be both.) We can skip the dark aspects of the Bard's plays unless your young audience have read "Charlotte's Web". But let's not waste time. Here are a few titles for consideration:

Mr. William Shakespeare's Plays by Marcia Williams. Marcia Williams's works would excite fans of the classics. Lizzie Bennet's Diary. Psyche and Eros. Charles Dickens and friends. They might be confused at first, wondering if themes like social background were included. It would be silly to think about it. Williams won't even consider such a thing, and there's no need to be subtle (to hide the message). Adult readers are familiar with it. Otherwise, the characters will captivate them. Lizzie won't like it if you disagree with it.

Usborne Illustrated stories from Shakespeare. A picture could paint a thousand words. This was the scenario during the Middle Age, when the populace were illiterate. It would be a matter of seconds before they had a general idea of what they saw. This won't be different from this book, knowing kids were a curious lot. And they have imagination. And one good illustration could lead to the right guess.

To Wee or Not to Wee by Pamela Butchart. This children's book will be out this July, and you shouldn't miss it. Anyone familiar with Butchart, who lives in Dundee, will guess that she will take a light approach on the Bard's play. If it's Hamlet, then she won't depict an unsettling image of the Three Witches. Likewise, Romeo and Juliet won't spend too much time on hugging and kissing. (Ewww!) What about "A Midsummer Night's Dream"? Make a guess.

If you know of other titles that we missed, then tell us. If you can think of other ways to let the younger children appreciate Shakespeare, then share it with us. The Bard would love it.

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