"HEAR, HEAR, MR. SHAKESPEARE" by Bruce Koscielniak


Email this review


This scattershot introduction to the Bard's language and times superimposes topically related sound bites from the plays over a brief picture-book encounter between Shakespeare, gardening behind his Stratford home, and a wandering troupe whose only script has been ruined by a summer shower. He quickly pens them another piece. Done in a typeface that imitates rough hand-lettering, the lines--asides delivered by bugs, farm animals, and field creatures--are placed in dialogue balloons that come close to obscuring the watercolor scenery. Koscielniak (Euclid Bunny Delivers the Mail, 1991, etc.) supplies citations, plus occasional historical notes and glosses, but few of the quotations are complete songs or speeches, the lines and turns of phrase that have become part of common speech are thinly represented, and many selections were evidently chosen less for content than for key words: e.g., ""Make haste, I say"" and ""Hie, make haste, make haste!"" (both, Romeo and Juliet), and ""Bid the players make haste"" and ""Let us haste to hear it"" (both, Hamlet). Younger readers will get a truer taste of Shakespeare from Bruce Coville's William Shakespeare's Macbeth (1997) and William Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream (1996); here they will find just indifferently connected ""words, words, words.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin