What’s So Special About Shakespeare? – Michael Rosen, illustrated by Sarah Nayler


      What’s So Special About Shakespeare? – Michael Rosen, illustrated by Sarah Nayler, Candlewick Press (9780763699949), 2001, 2018

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1- 5 (5 is excellent or a Starred review) 4

What did you like about the book?  The author introduces middle grade readers to Shakespeare, his times and his works.  Basic biographical information is given along with a look at the “Extraordinary and Dangerous Times” in which he lived.  Readers are informed about the role of the theater as a mode of entertainment, politics and information. After an introduction to London, to theaters, to the main types of Shakespearean plays (Tragedy, Roman, Comedy, Romance), the author takes a closer look at four of Shakespeare’s plays: A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Macbeth, King Lear and The Tempest.  The author concludes with a chapter on Shakespeare’s legacy of words and phrases that are still in use today.  The pen and ink illustrations help break up the text and add some humor to the facts. A “Time Line” includes information on what was happening in the world along with biographical information on Shakespeare and his works. The author also provides a detailed index  and a bibliography, making this a useful title for school reports.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No

To whom would you recommend this book?  This title could be used for school reports on Shakespeare and his plays. Share it with students who are going to be reading Shakespeare or seeing a performance of one of his plays.  

Who should buy this book?  Public Libraries and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it? Non-fiction (822)

Should we (librarians/readers) put this at the top of our “to read” piles?  No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Date of review: 4/12/18        

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