Did anyone notice that it’s just been the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare? Not that I feel it’s quite proper to celebrate anniversaries of deaths, but still.
There are a lot of books out with some kind of Shakespeare connection. Tony Bradman’s The Boy and the Globe is one of them, and it’s a Barrington Stoke Conkers book. It’s the one I mentioned a few days ago as having given me so much more pleasure than the book I abandoned immediately before it.
What’s so fun is seeing what different authors can do with the same theme. The Boy and the Globe is just one story set in 1611, featuring a young orphan. Toby is forced to take up a life of crime in order to eat, but it’s not something he wants to do. By chance he ends up thieving at the Globe one day, and is discovered, in more ways than one.
The boy is befriended by Shakespeare, who is struggling to write a new play, and inspired by a book Toby has just read, he suggests the plot for Will’s next masterpiece, The Tempest.
He gets to do a bit of acting, too, as Shakespeare writes a part for him, and from then on it’s less crime and more theatre for Toby.
Lots of fun and pretty instructive of life in London at the time, as well as giving a theoretical glimpse into the life of Will. I expect any parent of a child who reads this to be forced to make a trip to the Globe before long. (If they are careless enough to mention it’s a real place.)
Illustrations by Tom Morgan-Jones, and lots of Funne Activities for Boyes & Girls at the back of the book. (We really ought to celebrate dead people a bit more.)