In this collection, which includes A Midsummer's Night Dream, All's Well That Ends Well, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and more, Shakespeare's plays come alive and are especially accessible to the young reader. In this introduction to Shakespeare, Charles and Mary Lamb use Shakespeare's words as much as possible, especially in the tragedies. More often than not, the comedies are adapted using the authors' own words.
Originally published in the early 19th century by a brother and sister, these adaptations of six of Shakespeare's most famous plays were intended for children. The story of Charles and Mary Lamb is briefly presented in the beginning of this edition and reads nearly as interesting as a Shakespeare play. They originally collaborated as a way to earn money as well as to introduce young readers to the works of the famous bard, preserving whenever possible "Shakespeare's own words." Macbeth, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Othello, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, and King Lear are adapted to a length and simplicity suitable for older elementary or middle school students while retaining the complex plots and characterizations so familiar to readers of Shakespeare. The six stories offer readers a taste of the comic and the tragic, and will provide the incentive to tackle the plays themselves at the high school level under proper adult guidance. Three centuries later, the Lambs' adaptations remain a fine introduction to Shakespeare's writings and are a must for the well-rounded library. Occasional color illustrations of period-looking characters and settings provide interest for young readers, as do the boxed presentation. Reviewer: Meredith Kiger, Ph.D.