The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2458  Thursday, 1 January 2004

From:           Susan St. John <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 12:05:31 -0700
Subject:        Shakespeare for Kids

I realize I'm way behind on replying to this thread, but I don't recall
anyone mentioning the series called "Sixty-Minute Shakespeare", from
Five Star Publications in Chandler, AZ.  These are terrific adaptations
by Cass Foster.

My son was in a children's theatre production of 12th Night using this
script, appearing at age 8 as Officer #2, and two years later still
quotes lines from Toby Belch, having loved listening from backstage and
getting all the jokes!

The back of the book states that this is "an ideal alternative for those
who lack the time and resources to tackle the unabridged versions...this
smooth-flowing and carefully edited series works well for fully-mounted
productions, scene work in the classroom, and the study of Shakespeare's
plays in general.  While the language is condensed, the integrity of
Shakespeare's writings is kept intact so students of the Bard can
experience the thrill of the story as well as the beauty of the verse
and prose."

Most titles are available from barnesandnoble.com or amazon.com, and the
series currently includes R&J, Midsummer, Hamlet, MacB, Much Ado, and
12th Night.  Although I do know Cass Foster, I do not benefit in any way
from the sale of these books...I simply provide the info as a courtesy
for a series that I believe is perfect for working with young people.

I am also impressed by a book called "Macbeth for Kids" by Lois Burdett,
published by Firefly Books, Ltd. with addresses in both Ontario, Canada
and Buffalo, NY.  I believe it is part of a series called "Shakespeare
Can Be Fun" but this is the only book I am aware of in the series. Ms
Burdett retells the story, in rhyming verse, and adds drawings and
commentary from her 2nd-6th grade students.

It is terrific fun as an intro to the story.  My son just lapped it up
in one sitting (chosen over the Gameboy, while waiting for me as I
rehearsed another play) [note to Jerry F:  yes I still drag him along to
rehearsals, but can you believe the little crab has matured into such a
self-possessed young man?].

Susan St. John

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