Poetry for Young People: William Shakespeare (edited by David Scott Kastan and Marina Kastan and illustrated by Glenn Harrington) goes beyond Shakespeare’s sonnets. In just 50 pages, the editors have also included some of the key speeches from Shakespeare’s repertoire.
As with other volumes in the series, each page has a bit of explanation about the poem that follows. In this case, it also gives a background to particular play the poem is from and the reasons for each speech in the midst of it. It’s a great introduction to Shakespeare’s plays — including tragedies, comedies, and histories — and it’s a great reminder of the context of the classic lines and phrases we’ve heard so often, from “Double, double, toil and trouble” to “All the world’s a stage,/ and all the men and women merely players” and “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”
The paintings were prepared exclusively for this children’s book. Each illustration is mature and bright, and each is appropriate for the poem at hand. I think the illustrations are absolutely stunning.
This volume focusing on Shakespeare is the most mature of the three books I’ve reviewed from the Poetry for Young People series (I’ve also looked at Robert Louis Stevenson and Lewis Carroll). It is by far my favorite: it’s perfectly appropriate and interesting for adult and child alike.
Poetry for Young People: William Shakespeare counts for the BiblioShakespeare Challenge.