Hands up if you experienced Shakespeare being, to quote Donovan Bixley, “forced down (your) throat?” As someone who never discovered the joy in Shakespeare at college where his works were often dissected beyond any redeemable features, Much Ado About Shakespeare is a fascinating and enjoyable read.
The book tells the reader about Shakespeare’s life, from birth to death, each aspect cleverly headed up with a quote from one of his plays. I like the style in which Bixley writes, a chatty conversational one, which draws the reader in. Bixley of course has form in the world of illustrating with many excellent works, and Much Ado About Shakespeare is another fine example of his talent. Over the 120 pages, there are 45 full page beautiful illustrations, both detailed and realistic. Plenty of white space around the text makes it inviting to delve into. There is a timeline at the back of the book, and an interesting forward and ‘afterword’ by Bixley.
I would thoroughly recommend this book. In my view it would be an especially good one for Years 7-9, to give readers a background to Shakespeare and how his life and times influenced his writing, and in turn, how his writing has influenced the world. I am glad Bixley is ignoring Polonius’ advice in Hamlet to “Give every man thy ear but few thy voice”. Much Ado About Shakespeare is another example of our need to hear Bixley’s voice.
Title: Much Ado About Shakespeare
Author & Illustrator: Donovan Bixley
Publisher: Upstart Press
Publihed: 10 March 2016
Ages: 12 years +
Reviewer: Vickie Humphries, Librarian, Mount Cook School, Wellington
How highly are you recommending this book? Highly recommended
First sentence: William Shakespeare has never been sent to the naughty corner of history.
You can buy this book here