Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Voices in Poetry: Shakespeare

Voices in Poetry: Shakespeare

Jennifer Fandel
Photographer: Marcel Imsand
For ages 12 and Up
The Creative Company, 2004   ISBN: 978-1583412831

Shakespeare is probably one of the most well-known names in English Literature and is, as the author of this book points out, famous too because no one before or since can really be said to have "so passionately and so earnestly connected to the human experience." It is indeed this connectedness which makes Shakespeare so special. Even though Shakespeare wrote about a time so unlike our own some four hundred years ago, we are still able to understand and resonate with the emotions brought on by his poetry as we read it today.

We know very little about the man who wrote so much but who in fact did not live that long. Still, we can piece together a little about Shakespeare's life and that of his family. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon in 1564 and attended the New King's School when he turned five. In 1582 William married Anne Hathaway. Then there is a gap in his life story of some ten years. It is only in 1592 when his name is once more found in documents. By this time he was a successful playwright who later became a part owner in a theatre.

In this beautifully presented and superbly written book the author gives us a very well researched picture of Shakespeare's times and we are able to see what his world would have been like when he was growing up and later trying to make a living as a writer of plays. We are able to see Queen Elizabeth?s court, and a London crippled by plague. We are able to understand how revolutionary Shakespeare?s sonnet form was and we get to meet the men who were Shakespeare?s contemporaries.

Throughout the book the reader will find pictures of the poet, his family, and of places of significance to his story. Photographs of roses accompany each poem or play excerpt. In the back of the book the reader will find a list of the poems and the plays used in the book, and an index.