In the fifth installment of the illuminating Poetry for Kids series, the spotlight shifts from U.S. luminaries—Dickinson, Whitman, Sandburg, Frost—across the Atlantic to perhaps the most famous writer of English.
Again pairing an accomplished academician with a gifted illustrator, the resulting collection features 31 poetic selections curated by Shakespearean scholar Tassi (English, Univ. Nebraska-Kearney) and accompanied by atmospheric artwork from Spanish illustrator López. Though the Shakespearean oeuvre contains 154 sonnets and some longer poems, speeches from his plays dominate Tassi’s carefully crafted portrait, highlighting many famous reflections on love and desire, calls to arms, and musings on power. Interestingly, one must look to the volume’s explanatory “What William Was Thinking” section to learn not only the dramatic context behind, for example, “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears,” from Julius Caesar, but why Mark Antony’s observation that “The evil that men do lives after them; / The good is oft interred with their bones” carries such weight. More immediately, alongside Macbeth’s timeless “To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow” soliloquy, López’s eerie and evocative visualization wonderfully sketches the outline of the stages of life being alluded to in the smoky vapor of a snuffed-out candle. Shakespeare’s intricate syntax and Elizabethan vocabulary will warrant additional coaching for younger readers, facilitated by marginal notes.
An enticing entree to the glories of Shakespeare’s verse. (index) (Picture book/poetry. 10-14)