Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Gr 3-6-This captivating biography introduces the real-life players and masterfully scripts historical events. Engaging illustrations and an impressive amount of information make this presentation a hit. (May) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
William Shakespeare may get top billing in the title of this picture book, but the emphasis within is less certain. Aliki (Mummies Made in Egypt) doesn't investigate Shakespeare as a personality; dividing her work into five "acts," she focuses more on Elizabethan culture, dramatic conventions and living conditions, then shifts to Sam Wanamaker and the process of renovating the Globe in the 20th century. Aliki employs serviceable, almost pedestrian statements to convey the history, stretching occasionally toward cleverness. Of the open-ceilinged Globe, she comments, "When it rained, [the audience] knew it." The material on Wanamaker's restoration sheds light on the process by which the new Globe was built ("The first and only thatched roof in London since 1666"), although the character of Sam, with whom readers are meant to identify, remains bland. Pages are loaded with small panel illustrations of characters and historic figures in exaggerated poses. They capture a jolly theatrical spirit (nearly everyone in the quaint colored-pencil pictures wears a gentle smile), yet the many crowd scenes do not repay scrutiny. Unlike Diane Stanley's work in Bard of Avon, these pictures give only a broad idea of the historical context. Quotations from the bard populate the margins, and numerous appendixes provide facts. The wide range of information here makes this book a useful introduction to Elizabethan theater, despite its disparate themes and generalized pictures. All ages. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
Gr 3-6-While this is one of the most appealing and responsible biographies of Shakespeare for this audience since Diane Stanley and Peter Vennema's Bard of Avon (Morrow, 1992), it is also a history of the Globe of the 17th century and of the recently completed facsimile of the theater built through the persistent efforts of Sam Wanamaker, an American actor. On the title page, readers see a picture of a boy sitting under a portrait of Shakespeare, constructing a model of the Globe. Sam's story is related in "Act Five" (the book is divided into acts and scenes rather than chapters). With deft economy of words, Aliki covers a broad range of Elizabethan theater history in addition to Shakespeare's life. She sets out the scenes in Stratford and London, and discusses the basics of playhouse building, Marlowe, Jonson, Elizabeth I, James I, principal actors, the plague, and something of the plays without losing focus. Her lively cartoon illustrations, which would pair quite happily with Marcia Williams's Tales from Shakespeare (Candlewick, 1998), blend with more finished framed portraits, maps, playhouse designs, and scenes from London life to expand and explain the spare text, both in picture and caption. Pertinent quotations from the plays are set as grace notes outside the main text. Addenda include a list of plays and poems, sites to visit, and an intriguing sampler of words and expressions found in Shakespeare. A thoroughly enjoyable and reliable introduction to the Bard.-Sally Margolis, Barton Public Library, VT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr. 4^-7. Aliki takes on an ambitious project and completes it with a pervasive sense of history and fine sense of style. Her obvious love of Shakespeare and his theater shines through in the warmth of the presentation as well as her meticulous attention to illustrative detail. The many scenes of life in Elizabethan England will be absorbing to children, but some of Aliki's most sensitive work can be seen in her miniature portraits of key historical figures. Quotations from the plays appear throughout the book, in the front matter, in the margins, and as an unofficial epilogue. These short phrases bring Shakespeare's voice to the book, and the text itself demonstrates a good sense of what to include and exclude as it details what is known and surmised about the writer's life. Framing the central story is the tale of Sam Wanamaker (1919^-1993), an actor and director whose ambition was to rebuild the Globe. Thus, the book goes beyond Shakespeare himself to introduce the team of people who worked, researched, raised money, and built a replica of the Globe, where performances bring the playwright's words to life in something very like their original setting. Students looking for an introduction to Shakespeare and his playhouse will find this an excellent starting place. --Carolyn Phelan
Horn Book Review
From the table of contents, in which chapters are labeled as acts and scenes, to the additional material at the back, Aliki's enthusiasm and respect for her subject is in clear evidence. Relevant quotes from Shakespeare's plays are placed throughout the book, which provides a fine introduction to both bard and theater through a logically organized and engaging text, plenty of detailed illustrations with informative captions, and a clean design. Following her description of Shakespeare's life and death, Aliki brings readers into the present with an introduction to Sam Wanamaker, the American actor and director responsible for the rebuilding of the Globe Theatre in London. Wanamaker died in 1993, four years before the new Globe opened, but Aliki proposes that ""he lives on in the Globe playhouse he dreamed for us, just as Will lives on in his immortal plays."" All's well that ends well-an appropriate conclusion for both topic and audience. As with Shakespeare, there's something here for every mood: history, biography, theater, and architecture commingle, with comedy, tragedy, romance, and poetry playing bit parts. Appended are a list of Shakespeare's works, a chronology, and a surprising list of words and expressions (including horn-book!) said to be invented by Shakespeare. j.m.b. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
For Aliki (Marianthe's Story, 1998, etc.), the story of the Globe Theatre is a tale of two men: Shakespeare, who made it famous, and Sam Wanamaker, the driving force behind its modern rebuilding. Decorating margins with verbal and floral garlands, Aliki creates a cascade of landscapes, crowd scenes, diminutive portraits, and sequential views, all done with her trademark warmth and delicacy of line, allowing viewers to glimpse Elizabethan life and theater, historical sites that still stand, and the raising of the new Globe near the ashes of the old. She finishes with a play list, and a generous helping of Shakespearean coinages. Though the level of information doesn't reach that of Diane Stanley's Bard of Avon (1992), this makes a serviceable introduction to Shakespeare's times while creating a link between those times and the present; further tempt young readers for whom the play's the thing with Marcia Williams's Tales From Shakespeare (1998). (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-10)