Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

All the World's a Stage

All the World's a Stage

Rebecca Piatt Davidson
Illustrator:   Anita Lobel 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 9
HarperCollins, 2003   ISBN: 978-0060296278

Young William is a playwright and poet who creates all sorts of wonderful pieces of writing. His Muse, a woman who sings to William, helps the young man come up with plays about ordinary and extraordinary people. There is “Romeo and Juliet” which is about forbidden love and tragedy. There is King Lear which tells the tale of two sisters who fight over their father’s kingdom. In “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” fairies and other magical creatures play with the minds and hearts of a silly group of people.

Written is a form similar to the popular children’s rhyme “This is the House that Jack Built,” the author of this book introduces us to William Shakespeare, his Muse and then to some of his most famous plays. The paintings which accompany the text show a scene or combination of scenes from each play and we also see many of the principal characters in the plays.

At the back of the book the author tells us some more about William Shakespeare and the illustrator explains how she came to create the paintings. An outline of each play is given and reproductions of the paintings are shown annotated with the names of the characters shown.

This book would make an interesting read for a child who is already somewhat familiar with Shakespeare’s plays.