Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Will's Words - a review

Will's Words: How William Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk by Jane Sutcliffe.  Illustrated by John Shelly.  2016, Charlesbridge

According to author Jane Sutcliffe's note, she intended to write a book about the Globe Theater and its famous playwright, but found she was more interested in the way that William Shakespeare's words (even the invented ones!) have become so ingrained in our everyday speech. 

The end result is somewhat of a hybrid.  Two types of text boxes are placed upon each double-spread, full-bleed illustration.  One contains an account of life in the time and milieu of William Shakespeare,

Good plays need good playwrights.  And the most brilliant playwright in London was Mr. William Shakespeare. From butchers and bakers, to lords and ladies, everyone looked forward to the excitement of a Will Shakespeare play.

While the other explains one or more of Shakespeare's words,

WILL'S WORD: Excitement
WHAT IT MEANS: A feeling of "Bring it on!"  This was a fairly new word in Will's time.  He helped people get excited about "excitement."
WHERE IT COMES FROM: HAMLET, ACT 4, SCENE 4.  There's a lot of excitement in Hamlet's family.  And not the good kind.
The "Will's Word" text boxes are displayed on a facsimile of parchment paper - a nice touch.  If John Shelley's illustrations don't necessarily capture the squalor of the time, they certainly capture the essence of living in a seething mass of humanity.  The pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations are positively teeming with activity - providing opportunity for exploring hundreds of small details in each scene.

I chose to highlight one of the shorter passages.  However, there are more than fifteen scenes packed with information presented in a lively, conversational tone that will keep readers' attention.  Teachers should love this one.

The book goes on sale today.  Look for it on a library shelf soon.  If you choose to purchase it, you will receive the gift of more words from Shakespeare, your "money's worth."


Author's Notes, Timeline, and Bibliography are included.

Note:
My copy of Will's Words was provided by the publisher at my request. 

1 comment:

  1. Looks like fun! Definitely going to keep my eyes peeled for this book.

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