Thursday, June 11, 2015

All About Middle Grade Review: Tales from Shakespeare- Hamlet


Tales from Shakespeare: Hamlet (Retold in Modern-day English) by Timothy Knapman, illustrated by Yaniv Shimony, May 1, 2015. 48 pages. Published by QEB Publishing. Source: publisher.
Hamlet is miserable after the death of his father, but when the ghost of his father appears and reveals that he was murdered, Hamlet decides to seek his revenge... Will he succeed? A tragic tale of deceit and revenge. Combining modern-day English with stunning illustrations, QEB's Tales from Shakespeare bring the Bard's popular plays to life. Lively and easy-to-read, they are sure to capture your imagination!

First Sentence:
Horatio was tired and very, very cold.


Of all, which is not many, plays of Shakespeare's that I have read Hamlet might be my favorite. So, when I presented with the opportunity to read and review it retold in modern-day English I was, well, kinda excited to see how that would turn out.

With Hamlet being one of my favorite plays the question becomes, did a retelling in modern-day English... Well I think it went over quite well and was told in such a way that many young readers will enjoy getting an early, easy to read, taste of Shakespeare. 

One of the things I liked best about Timothy Knapman's modernized version of Hamlet would have to be that it was very true to the story. While the language update would definitely make it easier for younger readers to read, I liked that the general vibe of the story stayed the same as when Shakespeare penned it. 
  If you've read the original Hamlet then you know that it...well it's somewhat violent with the content (as is all of his plays). I was interested to see how they would make it suitable for young readers without losing the general gist of the story.  So, color me surprised with how well it all melded together into a wonderful new/old mix.

Personally, one of the things I've always enjoyed about Hamlet would have to be the mystery and watching certain characters schemes being foiled. Yet, it's always sad when you get to the end and, you know, that one character doesn't make it. With being familiar with the original version I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading it retold in modern-day English. It definitely gave it a different perspective...at least I thought so.

Story aside, one of the best things about this retelling would have to have been the illustrations. I just really enjoyed them because they suited the story so well and really brought it to life. Yaniv Shimony did a wonderful job of capturing the feel of the story with the illustrations.

Final Verdict: Tales from Shakespeare: Hamlet- All-around a great introduction for young readers looking to test out Shakespeare's writing. 

Tales from Shakespeare: Hamlet earns 


this book was received in consideration for review. All thoughts are my own.

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