Title: Pop-up Shakespeare
Authors: The Reduced Shakespeare Company – Reed Martin & Austin Tichenor
Illustrator: Jennie Maizels
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Children’s non-fiction, activity
Description: Discover all of Shakespeare’s plays and poems in one spectacular pop-up book from Jennie Maizels and the Reduced Shakespeare Company comedy theatre troupe. Dramatic pop-ups and lift-the-flaps reveal Shakespeare’s world, bringing to life every Comedy, History, Romance and Tragedy. Packed with hilarious jokes and funny facts, this is the Bard’s complete works as they’ve never been seen before.
My Review: This is such a fun book and really informative too! ‘Pop-up Shakespeare’ is a large and square shaped book, a bit bigger than A4 in height and the same width as height and is an amazing pop-up book with some great information and illustrations. There are only five double pages in this book but it is packed with information on all of Shakespeare’s plays and poems as well as some information about the man himself.
The book begins with Shakespeare and has a brief introduction in a box at the top of the double page along with lots of fun snippets of information dotted around the page, many of them inside flaps you have to open. This information is fascinating even to me as an adult as I really didn’t know much about Shakespeare’s life, such as information about him writing notes in gloves for his glove-maker father. The fun flaps are very colourful and there are lots of fun things to open and read about.
After covering Shakespeare’s life, each other double page then focuses on his plays and poems, arranged into the categories of: Comedies, Histories, Romances and Tragedies. What amazes me about these double pages is that in just one double page you get all the plays! There are pictures and snippets of text on each page about each of his plays and along with the brief description of the play there is also an orange book pictured which says ‘Long story short…’ and explains each play in a brief and funny way such as the sum-up of Romeo and Juliet is: Teenage marriages are almost always a bad idea!
The illustrations and overall feel of this book is so fun and engaging. Each page is colourful and the snippets of text and illustrations are all made fun to read. The pictures are also funny and even if you didn’t quite understand what’s written (which I find impossible as it’s written so well and simply) the pictures really help explain the plays further. The fun way all the information, both images and text, is arranged and presented makes learning about Shakespeare and his plays very fun without feeling like you are learning something at all. This is especially good as Shakespeare has always been a tough subject with some people disliking it.
Each page has many different pop-up features and I just love the way that the whole page comes alive. There are flaps to lift open and read as well as whole walls which spring up and flaps to lift and fold back so they stay standing while you take a look at their back. In a few places there are books which means that rather than lifting one flap you lift two in the same place, like reading a mini book. It doesn’t seem like so much information could be packed into one double page spread but the wonderful thing about this book and why I find the pop-up art just amazing to even look at is that you have to view it from more than one angle. Some of the plays that pop-up out of the book have they’re descriptions on the back, and in some cases there is one play on one side of the pop-up wall with another play and its information on the other side. The book even advises turning it around to see everything clearly so be prepared to open this book flat and look at it from different sides!
I really love this book and urge anyone new to Shakespeare, or anyone that feels lost when it comes to Shakespeare, to give this a read. It’s a great introduction for both adults and kids and I really would have found my own study of Shakespeare in secondary school so much easier had I been able to read this book when I was younger. I feel like this book has helped me understand some of the plays more and I’m especially keen to read or see some of them such as The Winter’s Tale or even Titus Andronicus as the latter has such a weird plot about what happens to all the baddies!
Another great thing about this book is the fact that it doesn’t just focus on the plays of Shakespeare but also explains his poems, his long poems and shorter ones called sonnets. While it doesn’t explain every single poem it does explain about them and about poetry at that time too.
This really is a fun book, not only because pop-up books are fun but you learn so much and in such a fun way, I really recommend this book to everyone of any age!
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.
Do you enjoy Shakespeare or not? Would this book make it easier to read, do you enjoy the pop-ups. Let me know any thoughts you have on this book I’d love to hear from you 🙂
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