Why are there so many adaptations of William Shakespeare’s works? The answer is that Shakespeare wrote about human behavior better than anyone else has. What Shakespeare had to say about what it means to be human, and all the different emotions that go with being human, still holds true today, nearly 500 years after his works were written. Which of course means that man himself hasn’t changed much.
Adapting Shakespeare’s works for children isn’t a new idea. Charles and Mary Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare was written back in 1807, and today, books are still coming out. One of the latest is Hamlet, retold by Timothy Knapman with illustrations by Yaniv Shimony.
The adaptation is pretty straightforward and very readable, and very readable to children (of the upper elementary grades). The illustrations help the story, and it’s nice to see the story take shape through the illustrations.
Hamlet is a strange choice for a children’s story — revenge killing, power-hungry female, insanity … why are we reading this to our children? But if it gets children to become familiar with the famous works of Shakespeare, or gets children interested in attending the theatre, I am all for it.
Looking for a good book? Hamlet: Retold in Modern-Day English is a simplified, children’s book adaptation of Shakespeare’s famous play and does what it sets out to do … tell the story very simply, so even a child can understand it.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
* * * * * *
Hamlet: Retold in Modern-day English
author: Timothy Knapman
artist: Yaniv Shimony
publisher: QEB Publishing
hardcover, 48 pages