William Shakespeare: His Life and Times

William Shakespeare: His Life and Times

“Dear Judith, I’m coming home,”is the beginning of William Shakespeare: His Life and Times. In this letter to his daughter Judith, he apologizes for being away so long. The authors take the reader on a visual journey throughout his life and career.This work of art and masterful language is a peek inside the real William Shakespeare, not only as a talented man of literature and theatre but as a husband and father.

This interactive scrape book is filled with flaps, envelopes, cards and documents pieced together with facts of his life that he would want his daughter to know. It also gives the reader a glimpse of what life was like in England in the 1600’s. A true treasure that you would want to read again and again.

Recommended by Deborah McLaughlin, Librarian Pennsylvania USA

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If you think William Shakespeare or the Elizabethan period are dry and dull, this book could be just the ticket to change your mind. Begin with the format: it’s constructed like a scrapbook with pasted in foldouts, playbills, scraps of parchment, envelopes with letters inside, and recipes to name a few items. The first envelope contains a “letter” to his daughter Judith, presenting her with this scrapbook of his life and times and telling her how he looks forward to browsing through it with her when he returns home for good.
           He begins with his childhood days in Stratford, with schooling and taking a wife, then moving to London to make his fortune as a sought-after playwright, introducing us to the Globe theatre and to his fellow actors, court life, and the wonders brought back from the New World. Each page is a delight of recreated art of the day, sidebars of factoids, and small folded cards that summarize Shakespeare’s plays.
           The reader will unfold a “parchment” illustrating Will’s family tree, advice for traveling by night in London, a flap that reveals the interior of the Globe theatre, a Who’s Who at Court, and King James’s superstitions, among other delights. Shakespeare introduces Judith, and by extension the reader, to his London, the beliefs and superstitions of his day, the times of war and peace that influenced his writing, the work and play of the average citizen, and the sport, love, and intrigue at court.
           This beautiful scrapbook is like a “Where’s Waldo?” for older readers, as it will take several readings to discover all the bits included throughout it. Finally, it is gorgeously bound in a cover that opens as if it were clasped in the center of the front cover. This may be just the introduction some readers will need to delve more deeply into this fascinating man and his times.

Recommended by:
Jane Behrens, Teacher Librarian, Iowa USA

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