He was the greatest poet and playwright who ever lived, the dramatist who penned lines that we quote without even realizing their origin. Shakespeare’s glorious works have even inspired animated films–like Disney’s The Lion King. Introduce children to the Bard with this wonderful, fully annotated collection of sonnets and soliloquies, enhanced with beautiful, highly realistic color paintings that bring each excerpt to vivid life. Here are Shakespeare’s most famous speeches: “To be or not to be” from Hamlet, with the melancholy Dane pictured in front of the castle, his face pensive and gazing into the distance; Portia’s gentle plea for mercy in The Merchant of Venice; Macbeth’s witches’ cackling “Double, double, toil and trouble”; and Marc Antony’s sarcastic address to “Friends, Romans, Countrymen,” in Julius Caesar. A golden-robed Henry V, kneeling and bowed from the weight of the world, ponders how rulers must bear the burden of their subjects’ needs. Mercutio, seen here in a bright red background as fiery and explosive as his personality, gently teases his lovesick friend Romeo. From the tender sonnets (Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?) to the humorous songs sung by his jesters in comedies such as Twelfth Night, every page contains pure verbal and visual magic.
“…the most delicate challenge in introducing poetry to children [is]…making all the necessary allowances for accessibility without completely throwing felicity and mystery to the winds. In this respect…it is particularly heartening to come upon…The Poetry for Young People Series [which] should be commended for recognizing that secure stepping stones hold infinitely more hope than forced marches.”–Washington Post Book World.