April 23rd 2016 is the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death and a variety of events will mark the occasion. If you are unfamiliar with Shakespeare’s work Where’s Will? is a great introduction to ten of his plays which have been summarised then portrayed in a pictorial comic strip style which is appealing to children from a fairly young age.
Many of us will have studied Shakespeare at school, the first Shakespeare play that I studied was Macbeth. I also read The Merchant of Venice and Hamlet but I found the language difficult to understand and as a teenager I didn’t enjoy reading them. However, my daughter and I have both enjoyed familiarising ourselves with some of Shakespeare’s plays in Where’s Will?
There are ten plays included in Where’s Will?;
- As You Like It
- Julius Caesar
- Twelfth Night
- The Tempest
- Much Ado About Nothing
- Antony & Cleopatra
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream
- Romeo & Juliet
Each play is introduced on a double spread which starts with a summary of the play and its characters. The summary also includes information about whether the play is a comedy or a tragedy and in the case of Julius Caesar the fact that the play was based on real life events.
Each story is told in short paragraphs with accompanying pictures. Then you are invited to turn the page and find Shakespeare and some of his characters hidden in a double spread scene relating to the play. Tilly’s illustrations use earthy colours and are full of detail, my daughter is fascinated by the blood on Julius Caesar after he has been stabbed and I love the deep purple night time spread in which the characters from A Midsummer Night’s Dream are hidden. It’s not easy to find some of the characters (we haven’t found them all yet!) but luckily the answers are in the back of the book (although I only looked for the purposes of writing this post!).
Where’s Will? is a fun way to introduce children to Shakespeare but anybody who wants to know the stories of the plays will find it interesting too. It will also be helpful later if / when my daughter studies Shakespeare at school.
Age Range: 7+
Author: Anna Claybourne / Illustrator: Tilly
Thank you to Ivy Press for sending us a review copy of Where’s Will? It has provided a fun introduction to Shakespeare’s plays and is a great coffee table book for both adults and children to dip into.