Will’s Words: How William Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk by Jane Sutcliffe, illustrated by John Shelley

Published by Charlesbridge 

Summary: A letter from the author at the beginning of the book tells her dilemma: in trying to tell the story of William Shakespeare and the Globe Theater, she kept running into Will’s words. Shakespeare created and/or popularized so many words and phrases that it’s almost impossible to tell a story without using some of them. She then proceeds with her original task on the left-hand pages, bolding Will’s words. The right-hand pages explain the history of those words and where they appear in Shakespeare’s plays. A final author’s letter tells a bit more about William Shakespeare, mostly how little we know of him. A time line and bibliography are also included at the end. 40 pages; grades 3-6.

Pros: A nice introduction to Shakespeare’s plays and the Globe Theater, with the added element of looking at the impact these plays had on the English language. The illustrations do a wonderful job of conveying the enthusiastic audiences crowded into the theater and the exuberant actors preparing and performing the shows.

Cons: Although this book is targeted to an elementary audience, I couldn’t help feeling it would be more appreciate by older students studying Shakespeare’s works.

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