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In Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children, E. Nesbitt reproduces 20 of the greatest of Shakespeare's plays in charming prose simple enough for children to understand and enjoy them. Delightful period drawings and a classic design make this a must for every family library. In Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children, E. Nesbitt reproduces 20 of the greatest of Shakespeare's plays in charming prose simple enough for children to understand and enjoy them. Delightful period drawings and a classic design make this a must for every family library.


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In Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children, E. Nesbitt reproduces 20 of the greatest of Shakespeare's plays in charming prose simple enough for children to understand and enjoy them. Delightful period drawings and a classic design make this a must for every family library. In Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children, E. Nesbitt reproduces 20 of the greatest of Shakespeare's plays in charming prose simple enough for children to understand and enjoy them. Delightful period drawings and a classic design make this a must for every family library.

30 review for Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Rollins

    Just finished reading this with my student over a couple year period. He drew posters or pictures of the characters and plot while I read. He loves Shakespeare and this book helped a lot along with my own love of Shakespeare :) My student wants to read all the rest of the plays now!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amy Moll

    We slowly worked our way through this all school year and the boys loved it. The language is challenging but not too hard, and a couple plays we read twice to really soak in the story. I own an old discarded library copy with the loveliest illustrations. I’m sure we’ll read this again in the future.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Trish Bachman

    Get acquainted with Shakespeare's beautiful stories in this easy to read/ easy to listen to book. Get acquainted with Shakespeare's beautiful stories in this easy to read/ easy to listen to book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Egbert

    When a writer, who is distilling down Shakespeare to the basic stories for children, begins her version of Macbeth with these words "When a person is asked to tell the story of Macbeth, he can tell two stories. One is of a man who came to the throne of Scotland by a crime in the year 1039, and reigned justly and well, on the whole, for fifteen years or more. This story is part of Scottish history. The other story issues from a place called Imagination; it is gloomy and wonderful, and you shall h When a writer, who is distilling down Shakespeare to the basic stories for children, begins her version of Macbeth with these words "When a person is asked to tell the story of Macbeth, he can tell two stories. One is of a man who came to the throne of Scotland by a crime in the year 1039, and reigned justly and well, on the whole, for fifteen years or more. This story is part of Scottish history. The other story issues from a place called Imagination; it is gloomy and wonderful, and you shall hear it." She has won me over COMPLETELY. This book should sit right next to a Complete Works of Shakespeare and the Lambs' Shakespeare stories in every home.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    First sentence: It was evening. The fire burned brightly in the inn parlour. We had been that day to see Shakespeare's house, and I had told the children all that I could about him and his work. Now they were sitting by the table, poring over a big volume of the Master's plays, lent them by the landlord. And I, with eyes fixed on the fire, was wandering happily in the immortal dreamland peopled by Rosaline and Imogen, Lear and Hamlet. A small sigh roused me-- "I can't understand a word of it," s First sentence: It was evening. The fire burned brightly in the inn parlour. We had been that day to see Shakespeare's house, and I had told the children all that I could about him and his work. Now they were sitting by the table, poring over a big volume of the Master's plays, lent them by the landlord. And I, with eyes fixed on the fire, was wandering happily in the immortal dreamland peopled by Rosaline and Imogen, Lear and Hamlet. A small sigh roused me-- "I can't understand a word of it," said Iris. "And you said it was so beautiful," Rosamund added, reproachfully. "What does it all mean?" Premise/plot: E. Nesbit has adapted fifteen of Shakespeare's plays into short stories for children. The plays she's chosen to adapt are as follows: "The Tempest," "Romeo and Juliet," "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark," "As You Like It," "King Lear," "The Taming of the Shrew," "Cymbeline," "Twelfth Night," "The Winter's Tale," "Pericles, Prince of Tyre," "The Comedy of Errors," "Macbeth," "Othello," and "The Merchant of Venice." Nesbit chose to adapt a few of his comedies and a few of his tragedies but none of his history plays. The Tempest Prospero, the Duke of Milan, was a learned and studious man, who lived among his books, leaving the management of his dukedom to his brother Antonio, in whom indeed he had complete trust. But that trust was ill-rewarded, for Antonio wanted to wear the Duke's crown himself, and, to gain his ends, would have killed his brother but for the love the people bore him. However, with the help of Prospero's great enemy, Alonso, King of Naples, he managed to get into his hands the dukedom with all its honour, power, and riches. For they took Prospero to sea, and when they were far away from land, forced him into a little boat with no tackle, mast, or sail. In their cruelty and hatred they put his little daughter, Miranda (not yet three years old), into the boat with him, and sailed away, leaving them to their fate. Romeo and Juliet Once upon a time there lived in Verona two great families named Montague and Capulet. They were both rich, and I suppose they were as sensible, in most things, as other rich people. But in one thing they were extremely silly. There was an old, old quarrel between the two families, and instead of making it up like reasonable folks, they made a sort of pet of their quarrel, and would not let it die out. My thoughts: I enjoyed this one. I was familiar with about half of these stories. There are still some of Shakespeare's plays I haven't read yet. I'm not convinced that Shakespeare's plays make for the best stories for children. His plays usually have quite adult content. But these stories, of course, do not. Reading these stories back to back one sees how similar Shakespeare's plays can be to one another. I do wish she'd chosen to adapt some of the history plays. I would LOVE to find a collection that does include the history plays adapted for a younger audience.

  6. 5 out of 5

    A B

    This book reminded me of how weird and delightful Shakespeare can be, but I was also amused to see how many tropes he uses. Namely: - women disguised as men - men disguised as women (and occasional donkeys) - people falling in love with the disguised - women loving complete and utter jackasses (in one case, literally) - lots and lots of shipwrecks I am a strong advocate of children's versions of classic tales. I absolutely loved reading "Classics Illustrated" - books and comics - growing up and I fee This book reminded me of how weird and delightful Shakespeare can be, but I was also amused to see how many tropes he uses. Namely: - women disguised as men - men disguised as women (and occasional donkeys) - people falling in love with the disguised - women loving complete and utter jackasses (in one case, literally) - lots and lots of shipwrecks I am a strong advocate of children's versions of classic tales. I absolutely loved reading "Classics Illustrated" - books and comics - growing up and I feel they helped mold my appreciation of literature. Same logic applies to library class (anyone else remember that from grade school?) when the librarian would show a filmstrip that told most or all of a book, then provided copies of the book for students. The objective was to get kids excited about reading. The only drawback would be spoilers. This is where I am torn. Is it really spoiling a story to hear a tamed version of it? Some content is also questionable. I still shudder at the memory of the first time I saw the illustration of crying puppies with docked tails and ears from "Black Beauty". It's true that dumbing down Shakespeare into elementary school age-appropriate writing, plus leaving out the more adult bits, takes away some of the impact. On the other hand, Shakespeare is pretty confusing. I remember seeing "Cymbeline" performed live without reading it first and being completely lost. This compilation does a good job of leaving in important quotes, like Othello's terrifying "Have you prayed to-night?" question, while paraphrasing the rest. I liked the illustrations because I found them amusing. Seriously, they look like Hummel statues. The choice of plays is a bit odd. The big names are there, as well as a handful of others that translate well to prose. They wisely left out "Titus Andronicus". I'm embarrassed to say that I'd never heard of "The Winter's Tale" or "Pericles", both of which I found delightful. However, some of the play-to-prose doesn't work, as in "The Comedy of Errors", "The Merchant of Venice", and "Measure for Measure". This would be a nice gift for a child's library.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Saphraneet

    In honor of April being the month of William Shakespeare's birth and death, I thought it was time to read some of his works. I haven't read much Shakespeare since H.S. English class so I thought that perhaps by reading abridged versions I would become familiar with the characters and plots and then more wisely choose which of his plays to tackle first. This book by E. Nesbit was a charming abridgement of Shakespeare's plays that had the feel of an old fashioned storybook. This particular copy I r In honor of April being the month of William Shakespeare's birth and death, I thought it was time to read some of his works. I haven't read much Shakespeare since H.S. English class so I thought that perhaps by reading abridged versions I would become familiar with the characters and plots and then more wisely choose which of his plays to tackle first. This book by E. Nesbit was a charming abridgement of Shakespeare's plays that had the feel of an old fashioned storybook. This particular copy I read had sweet illustrations of young people as the characters of the stories. Each page of the text was surrounded by a decorative border. The author wrote what she deemed to be the most pertinent information for each play in story form. I also read Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb at the same time as the Nesbit book since they both conveniently contained the same 20 plays. The authors seemed to have done a great job in retelling the plays and "translating" Shakespeare's Elizabethan English without losing too much of the feel of the originals. (Of course, I know it would be richer to read the real things.) I was glad that I read both together to receive a more complete picture of what each play was about. Of the two, perhaps the book by E.Nesbit was for a younger audience.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Featherglass

    To write the storyline behind a Shakespearean work without detracting from the beauty of the play is difficult. For example, how does one tell the already-cliched story of thwarted love (Romeo and Juliet) without sounding sentimental and schmaltzy? But E. Nesbit does, in simple language and a well-thought out structure to the storyline she plots out of the massive works of the Bard. Beyond the storyline, she weaves in her views on the heros and heroines that meander in and out of Twelfth Night, To write the storyline behind a Shakespearean work without detracting from the beauty of the play is difficult. For example, how does one tell the already-cliched story of thwarted love (Romeo and Juliet) without sounding sentimental and schmaltzy? But E. Nesbit does, in simple language and a well-thought out structure to the storyline she plots out of the massive works of the Bard. Beyond the storyline, she weaves in her views on the heros and heroines that meander in and out of Twelfth Night, As You Like It, and even lesser-known (to me anyway) plays like Pericles. Each is a gem unto itself and does the 14th century playwright justice. This book is not just for children but for anyone who wanted to read Shakespeare in story form to appreciate his ideas about humanity and the human condition. Nesbit's book does what every good writer of the great works aims to do: To make you want to read the original for yourself.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    Well, the title says it all. This is about a dozen or so of Shakespeare's plots outlines and simplified for children (probably ages 10 and over I would think). It was done by one of my favorite children's writers, E. Nesbit who has a wonderful way of relating to the little ones among us. Having read many of Shakespeare's plays (and at least aware of the plots of most of them) I still enjoyed the simple and enchanting was Mrs Nesbit relates these timeless stories. It was also a great way to keep Well, the title says it all. This is about a dozen or so of Shakespeare's plots outlines and simplified for children (probably ages 10 and over I would think). It was done by one of my favorite children's writers, E. Nesbit who has a wonderful way of relating to the little ones among us. Having read many of Shakespeare's plays (and at least aware of the plots of most of them) I still enjoyed the simple and enchanting was Mrs Nesbit relates these timeless stories. It was also a great way to keep some of Shakespeare's plots in order in my mind (let's face it, some of them are a bit complicated). If you have preteen children at home, I would recommend this book to get them some wonderful exposer to the bard.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chrystal Phillips

    It was nice to read through brief synopsis type breakdowns of Shakespeare's works. Some are hard to understand (unless you enjoy reading Olde English, and some of us still exist lol), so the simplicity of each story is indeed, easy enough for a child to understand - and offers a look into the stories for those adults who may struggle with Shakespeare in it's native form. While I will still read the original, I could easily give this version to my children to possibly awaken a desire to read the It was nice to read through brief synopsis type breakdowns of Shakespeare's works. Some are hard to understand (unless you enjoy reading Olde English, and some of us still exist lol), so the simplicity of each story is indeed, easy enough for a child to understand - and offers a look into the stories for those adults who may struggle with Shakespeare in it's native form. While I will still read the original, I could easily give this version to my children to possibly awaken a desire to read the real stuff ;)! I also like that there are quotes listed in the back, by topic, so that the reader can whet their appetite with the beauty of Shakespeare in his own tongue.

  11. 4 out of 5

    momma.hailey

    What a lovely book! Nesbit's retold stories are written well for reading aloud. This book was a great introduction to Shakespeare and we look forward to the original plays now that we are familiar with plots, The illustrations are perfectly delightful, each character depicted as a child. What a lovely book! Nesbit's retold stories are written well for reading aloud. This book was a great introduction to Shakespeare and we look forward to the original plays now that we are familiar with plots, The illustrations are perfectly delightful, each character depicted as a child.

  12. 4 out of 5

    TheBohemianBookworm

    This book was the book that made me love Shakespeare as a child. The thirteen year old girl in me will always love this.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Edith Nesbitt (Railway Children fame) was a favorite author of J.K. Rowling. (Ironically, Nesbitt was never popular in America because some of her fantasy books were perceived as promoting witchcraft) She first wrote this around 1900. She had told her children of the wonders of Shakespeare, and when she read it to them they were less than thrilled. She decided to write her own version for her children. She did William proud.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bookish Devil

    A wonderful compilation of Shakespeare's works narrated in a lucid manner. What's more?! There are plenty illustrations an also a section containing a big bunch of handpicked beautiful quotes from the original version of these stories. This book came as a blessing to me as I always wanted to read shakespeare's works but was discouraged by the complexity of his language. This is a must read for people of all ages. :) A wonderful compilation of Shakespeare's works narrated in a lucid manner. What's more?! There are plenty illustrations an also a section containing a big bunch of handpicked beautiful quotes from the original version of these stories. This book came as a blessing to me as I always wanted to read shakespeare's works but was discouraged by the complexity of his language. This is a must read for people of all ages. :)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Sadicario

    A perfect introduction to the Bard, at least for those under about eight. The stories are short enough and language accessible enough for a five year old (the stories read like regular mythology), while still wading in the artful poetry of Shakespeare and themes of each play. In other words, my antsy boys (five and seven) enjoy it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Andria Harriman

    I read this to Audrey on our way to Shakespeare's birthplace and found it was a really good introduction to some of his more popular and entertaining plays. I liked that it didn't sugar coat the plot (romeo and Juliet still kill themselves) but it wasnt graphic and did make the stories easier for kids (and grownups!) to understand. I read this to Audrey on our way to Shakespeare's birthplace and found it was a really good introduction to some of his more popular and entertaining plays. I liked that it didn't sugar coat the plot (romeo and Juliet still kill themselves) but it wasnt graphic and did make the stories easier for kids (and grownups!) to understand.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anne Lawson

    This is not as good as the Lamb's Shakespeare, but for kids it is still a good introduction to Shakespeare - much better than some. I mean, it is Edith Nesbit after all! Still, some of the stories seemed too paraphrased and rushed. Wish she could have found a way to add a few more details and good original lines from the original. This is not as good as the Lamb's Shakespeare, but for kids it is still a good introduction to Shakespeare - much better than some. I mean, it is Edith Nesbit after all! Still, some of the stories seemed too paraphrased and rushed. Wish she could have found a way to add a few more details and good original lines from the original.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dayna Smith

    Twenty of Shakespeare's plays re-shaped to be easily understood by children. A great introduction to the plays of the Bard for younger readers. A fantastic book to use for bedtime stories. The illustrations are gorgeous, with all the characters portrayed as children. A masterful classic work every parent should own and read to their children. Twenty of Shakespeare's plays re-shaped to be easily understood by children. A great introduction to the plays of the Bard for younger readers. A fantastic book to use for bedtime stories. The illustrations are gorgeous, with all the characters portrayed as children. A masterful classic work every parent should own and read to their children.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Trudy Pomerantz

    I listened to this on a librivox audio edition though I cannot find that listed as an edition. This was a great introduction to the story lines of Shakespeare even for an adult. My plan is to listen to this again as I read through (or listen to) all of Shakespeare's plays so that I can start off having some idea of who everyone is and the basic outline of the play. I listened to this on a librivox audio edition though I cannot find that listed as an edition. This was a great introduction to the story lines of Shakespeare even for an adult. My plan is to listen to this again as I read through (or listen to) all of Shakespeare's plays so that I can start off having some idea of who everyone is and the basic outline of the play.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I felt that some of Shakespeare's plays lent themselves better to a short story format than others. However, this book is a great way to become familiar with the plot of one of his plays before actually reading it or seeing it, especiall for children. I felt that some of Shakespeare's plays lent themselves better to a short story format than others. However, this book is a great way to become familiar with the plot of one of his plays before actually reading it or seeing it, especiall for children.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gracia

    My favorite story was Romeo and Juliet. I liked all the other stories too. I also like Midsummer Night's Dream because the fairy king put magic juice on the fairy queen and she fell in love with a clown with a donkey head. My favorite story was Romeo and Juliet. I liked all the other stories too. I also like Midsummer Night's Dream because the fairy king put magic juice on the fairy queen and she fell in love with a clown with a donkey head.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Shelli

    The children and I are currently reading through this collection. Each story is written as a narrative (not as a play). This book it is giving the kids a firm understanding of the story lines which accompany Shakespearean comedies and tragedies.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    I feel like I was supposed to like this more than I did. The plays are condensed down to basic characters/events, but with so much going on in Shakespeare's plays, these read like Cliffs Notes. I had to draw pictures as we read to keep characters apart. That said, Isaiah loved them. I feel like I was supposed to like this more than I did. The plays are condensed down to basic characters/events, but with so much going on in Shakespeare's plays, these read like Cliffs Notes. I had to draw pictures as we read to keep characters apart. That said, Isaiah loved them.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Haley Grizzell

    E. Nesbit did an admirable job in converting Shakespeare stories into children's stories, but there will always be a bit missing from them. You cannot truly enjoy Shakespeare without reading his own words. No matter how many times we change his work, it is never better than its original form. E. Nesbit did an admirable job in converting Shakespeare stories into children's stories, but there will always be a bit missing from them. You cannot truly enjoy Shakespeare without reading his own words. No matter how many times we change his work, it is never better than its original form.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kaysie Campbell

    Cute little synopses of Shakespeare's work. My favorite was Taming of the Shrew. I started it as a read aloud to my 6 year old. He was interested if I explained all the interworkings and characters, but I decided just to finish it myself. I'll probably wait a couple of years for him. Cute little synopses of Shakespeare's work. My favorite was Taming of the Shrew. I started it as a read aloud to my 6 year old. He was interested if I explained all the interworkings and characters, but I decided just to finish it myself. I'll probably wait a couple of years for him.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amy Meyers

    Read this to my children after studying Shakespeare in school. What an excellent collection of retellings of his plays! It doesn't cover absolutely every play, but many. We are going to further our studies of Shakespeare now, but I'm sure we'll continue to use this book. Read this to my children after studying Shakespeare in school. What an excellent collection of retellings of his plays! It doesn't cover absolutely every play, but many. We are going to further our studies of Shakespeare now, but I'm sure we'll continue to use this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Annalise

    I read this book to start me off in Shakespeare's work. It's an easier version so as to understand it better. I read this for school but I really enjoyed it. It has some of his best stories in here. I read this book to start me off in Shakespeare's work. It's an easier version so as to understand it better. I read this for school but I really enjoyed it. It has some of his best stories in here.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Read these stories to my children while they were being home schooled, excellent and very well-told stories!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Marie

    Uses quotations from Shakespeare, looks worth reading in a couple years. Still seems too complex and too few illustrations for my 5/6 year old. Try maybe when she's 8? Uses quotations from Shakespeare, looks worth reading in a couple years. Still seems too complex and too few illustrations for my 5/6 year old. Try maybe when she's 8?

  30. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Great introduction to Shakespeare.

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