Friday, March 24, 2017

PPBF: Three Picture Books About Shakespeare

and I'm celebrating

The Comedy, History, and Tragedy
of William Shakespeare
The Comedy, History, and Tragedy of William Shakespeare

Written by Anna Claybourne
Illustrated by Adria Meserve

Franklin Watts, 2015
Ages 7-12, 48 pp, 880L

Biography, Nonfiction

This book examines the life of William Shakespeare from his childhood through the height of his popularity. It is full of facts, but written in a fun-loving style. In addition to historical and biographical information, several of Shakespeare's most important plays are summarized in an accessible voice. The illustrations are amazing. From the title to the endpages, this is a great introduction to the Bard in an age-appropriate way.

You Wouldn't Want To Be A Shakespearean Actor!:
Some Roles You Might Not Want To Play
You Wouldn't Want To Be A Shakespearean Actor!
Written by, Jacqueline Morley
Illustrated by, David Antram
Series creator, David Salariya

Salariya Book Company Ltd, 2010
Franklin Watts, 2010
Ages 8-11, 830L
around 3000 words

History, Drama, Nonfiction, Humor

These books are told in second person. They engage the reader by speaking directly to him, advising him in a humorous tone bordering on ridiculous. The illustrative style compliments the text. The art is in a lighthearted, comic-style, but with enough detail to inform.

This particular book takes the reader through every stage (no pun intended) of acting life: costume, dress, responsibilities of the players, chores, jobs, food. It includes details about Elizabethan life and touches on important historical events like the plague. Theatrical history is another important theme including the building of the Globe Theater, the fire which destroyed it, and the Blackfriars, the first indoor theater in London. The material is kid-friendly, defining terms within the text or in the glossary.

Will's Quills, by Don Freeman
Will's Quills
How A Goose Saved Shakespeare

Written and illustrated by Don Freeman

First Edition, Viking, 1975
Ages 5-8

Historical Fiction? Finding Purpose

Many long years ago in Merrie Olde England there lived a country goose named Willoughby Waddle. While the other geese on the farm were content to spend their days nibbling on flowers and floating lazily on the lake, Willoughby was restless. He wanted to see the world, but even more, he wanted to be useful. And so early one spring morning, he set out for Londontown.

There is not one stitch of truth nor useful historical bit in this story...and it doesn't matter one whit because it's so adorable! The plot? An inept playwright (guess who) cannot concentrate because his quills aren't sharp enough. He throws them out the window onto an unsuspecting country goose, Willoughby Waddle, and...
Classic Don Freeman style with playful art, rich colors, and kid-tested prose. Between the celebration of the Bard's birth and the deadline for the Don Freeman grant looming, I couldn't help but think of this hilarious picture book gem.


A Shakespearean novel
 by Susan Cooper

Want to learn more about Shakespeare Week? Check out the links from Monday's post along with my review of Susan Cooper's middle grade novel, King of Shadows, where the MC travels back to Elizabethan England and acts with William Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

You might also like these and other Perfect Picture books. Check them out at your local library.

Reviewed by Vivian
Reviewed by Loni

Reviewed by Julie
Reviewed by Joanna

Reviewed by Joanne
Reviewed by Keila

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday for Friday, March 24, 2017 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.


  1. What a wonderful selection of books to introduce kids to Shakespeare. I know so little about his life! But, I think I like the second title the best, "You Wouldn't Want To Be A Shakespearean Actor!" It really gives kids a peek into theater life.

    1. This series includes a lot of gross facts, humor, and slapstick. I think we all know readers who would be drawn to that. And there are dozens of available topics from ancient times to modern day. I think they're definitely worth looking into. Thanks.

  2. Terrific selection. I didn't know it was Will's week. I think I may purchase the fist one for our middle school library.

    1. My son studied Shakespeare already, but they don't read anything of his until high school around here. I clearly remember reading Romeo and Juliet in seventh grade. Thanks.

  3. I've read all but Will's Quills. This sounds fun. Have it on hold at the library. I love Shakespeare, so thanks for finding a new book for me.

    1. It's my pleasure. Finding new books is one of my favorite things about Perfect Picture Book Fridays. Thanks.

  4. WOW...have not read any of these, Joanne..but how wonderful that there are kid's books about Shakespeare...reserving now, if my library has them. ;)

    1. Now if you just had the time to read them all!!!!! Thanks, Viv.

  5. Wow! These would make great mentor text for those wanting to write humour or NF in a fun way. Great find. Thanks for sharing.

    1. (You must be working your way through ReFoReMo!) I am always in need of good examples of humor. That's the hardest thing for me to write. Thanks.


Thank-you for taking time to share your thoughts!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.