Tales From Shakespeare Retold in Modern-day English


Tales From Shakespeare Retold in Modern-day English

Joy of publishing books that make learning exciting, stimulating and fun for children and parents.

I have to admit that I was intrigued about the idea of a writer transforming Shakespeare’s text into modern-day English for elementary school students.  Hamlet for first graders?  Really?!  It was that very curious expectation that drove me to read a series called Tales from Shakespeare and I have to tell you it was an interesting review.

Julius Twelth

I’m sure, like me, you never thought of Shakespeare as a book you would read to elementary school kids, but that is just what QEB Publishing has done.  We are talking some serious tragedies of war, ambition, sorrow, death – yes, all of that but written in an easy-to-read text with sweeping illustrations.  These are stories that are modernized and simplified in a way for children to consume and there is a lot of untangling his sometimes complex plots.

What I found most interesting about these re-tellings is that a person can take a play written in 1599 and make it into a story that can stand on its own.  In fact, the Tales from Shakespeare stories are great at reworking Shakespeare’s plays without falling prey to summarization and actually does a great job at getting a reader excited about what’s next and does not get tangled up in the intricate webs that Shakespeare spins.  The stories are modern and are mostly (I say mostly because, I am not convinced Hamlet could ever be for kids) written for a non-mature audience, which I appreciate.  I’m not in any big hurry for my kids to read Shakespeare, but I do want them to read fascinating books.
Henry  Why, yes, my eight year old LOVES Shakespeare, doesn’t yours?!  Har Har!

I thoroughly enjoyed being able to read through these modern tales of Shakespeare for children.  Some English lit majors have a hardcore notion that his plays only be performed on stage and that simplifying or cleaning up the words for children is a crime.  There have actually been many versions of Shakespeare’s play made for children over the years that have proved that it can be done successfully (Illustrated Stories from Shakespeare from Usborne is one that comes to  mind)  I think the Tales From Shakespeare series is another successful retelling of his plays and the wonderful illustrations capture the words brilliantly and should captivate and interest young readers.  With the exception of Hamlet.  Sorry, I don’t think anyone can pull off a kid-version of Hamlet!  A miserable man seeking revenge for the murder of his father is just a little too mature for six year olds, right?!  We’ll leave that one on the shelf and let Brooke discover the real version when she is older.     

I bid thee farewell.  Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say good night till it be morrow. 

Tales From Shakespeare Retold in Modern-day English


List Price: $ 14.95 per book

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