Monday, December 15, 2008

Shakespeare Gifts

It’s that time of year again (actually, it’s very late for that time of year).  Anybody giving good Shakespeare gifts for the holidays?

Personally I’m a little overwhelmed.  I’ve got a One Page Book sitting in the tube, waiting to be put up.  And I’m in the middle of both Will and Nothing Like The with no end in sight, and that’s not even counting the random couple I picked up on vacation a few months ago.

I was hoping that Ian McKellens’s King Lear would be out on DVD for the holidays, but I haven’t seen it.

I should find something Shakespearean for the kids.  But last year Santa gave them a Shakespeare book and it’s a little old for them, I don’t want to push it.


jjlc2 said...

I should find something Shakespearean for the kids. But last year Santa gave them a Shakespeare book and it’s a little old for them, I don’t want to push it.

How old are your kids? There are lots of books for kids which feature Shakespeare in the background.

For under 2nd grade, try Stage Fright on a Summer Night (from the Magic Treehouse series.) For older grade-schoolers, Shakespeare's Secret or The Shakespeare Stealer. (The latter is the beginning of a series.)

We also like the children's versions of Shakespeare stories. The picture book versions by Bruce Colville are excellent. Usborne Stories from Shakespeare is good as well. Actually, there are tons of good choices for collections of adapted stores from Shakespeare.

My 10 y.o. daughter got Shakespeare's Globe by Toby Forward pop up book last Christmas. We need to buy her another one soon because it's been played with so much.

Duane said...

Thanks for the ideas! My kids are 6, 4 and 2, and at those ages the good choices are a little bit harder to find. The book in question that Santa brought them is actually the Usborne book, and I wouldn't call it all that great. Not enough pictures, and the pictures it does have are used more as decoration than illustration (i.e. you couldn't figure out the story by looking at the pictures). Besides, their idea of updating for kids is really just to go straight through the play and "update" the text, I think what I'm really looking for at this age is something that's not afraid to be a complete rewrite, that still keeps plot and character but doesn't feel obliged to stay too true to the text, ya know? Like what West Side Story is to Romeo and Juliet.

I think I will grab that popup book, though (even though it takes 2-3 weeks to ship :(). All ages can dig a good popup book, and we've got several high end ones in the house already.

David Blixt said...

A few years back, Jan and I found some Macbeth finger puppets in the gift shop in Shakespeare's House in Stratford. I imagine they're available somewhere closer...

jjlc2 said...

Yeah, 6, 4, and 2 is young for the story anthologies. None of them have enough pictures, because they are trying to fit multiple stories in one book.

Since you need lots of pictures, definitely try the Bruce Colville books. There are lots of excellent pictures. Twelfth Night is a favorite with my girls. He does use some of the original language, but not too much, and since you're at a read-aloud stage, you can always stop to explain.