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Hamlet by Bruce Coville

Hamlet (edition 2004)

by Bruce Coville, Leonid Gore (Illustrator)

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524225,591 (3.93)None
Authors:Bruce Coville
Other authors:Leonid Gore (Illustrator)
Info:Dial (2004), Hardcover, 40 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Picturebook Adaptation

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Hamlet by Bruce Coville



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Coville does a great job in retelling Shakespeare's Hamlet. He condenses a complex play into something more palatable for even older audiences, and he is adept at using direct quotes from the play itself to not only help the story along, but also introduce the reader to the difficult writing style of Shakespeare. I thought the ethereal illustrations were a good artistic choice for the story, and I liked the artist's use of color and shading to express emotions in each scene. Since I'm not too familiar with other YA adaptations of Hamlet, I don't really have room to make a comparison to other retellings. While I think this is a great way to introduce maybe advanced young readers to Shakespeare, I feel like I'd rather take them to a play version instead of reading this book. I feel like the nuances of Shakespeare's words are left out in order to make the text more approachable. I suppose I might use this with students that are struggling to simply understand what is going on, and then working with them from there. ( )
  vroussel | Feb 13, 2015 |
This book was a condensed and easier to read version of Hamlet. Hamlet is about a Prince whose father died under mysterious circumstances. After his father’s ghost comes to him, Hamlet sets out to prove that his uncle killed his father in order to become King. One of the major themes of Hamlet is mortality. Hamlet was trying to prove that his uncle killed his father, but he, his uncle, and his mother end up dead themselves. The author took great time to establish the main plot lines from the original play, to make his version easier to read. The author also tended to try and simplify the story as much as possible. When the author did quote directly from Shakespeare he then immediately, explained what the quote meant. For example when Hamlet spoke the famous line to be or not to be, before the quote the author explained that the quote was about whether Hamlet wanted to continue to live. “Hamlet wandered in, distracted and wondering whether he should even continue to live. “To be, or not to be,” he said aloud.” Instead of using the language of Shakespeare’s time, sometimes the author just summarized what the characters were doing in modern language. “If Claudius were killed while praying, his soul would go straight to heaven, which was the last thing Hamlet wanted. Regretfully, he left the praying king and hurried to his mother’s chambers, where she awaited him with Polonius hiding behind the curtain.”
As a teacher I would use this book before I taught my students Shakespeare’s true version of the play. The author summarizes the main points beautifully, so the students would understand what the story is about without becoming confused while reading Shakespearean language. While I like the idea of having pictures to provide a visual aid to the students, I don’t like the illustrations in the book. I find them muddy and hard to see. While I think watching the movie version of these plays would provide a better visual, I think reading this book to students will make them less intimidated about Shakespeare. This book is not threatening to students and I think if they were read this book aloud, they would actually be excited about Shakespeare. ( )
  tahamilton | Jan 25, 2015 |
Spirits, namely the recently deceased King Hamlet, play a key role in Shakespeare's Hamlet. The specter of the old king sets everything in motion, really. So, that being said, I can understand why Leonid Gore went in the direction he did with the illustrations for he and Bruce Coville's adaptation of Hamlet. The artwork is extremely ethereal, painting the characters as ghosts on our earthly plane. However, when matched with Coville's excellent summative writing, the illustrations don't quite mesh with portions of the story when action flares.

Overall, Coville and Gore's Hamlet is a solid adaptation, but ranks lower on the Coville totem pole than it should've given the high regard the original Hamlet is held. As a teaching tool, though, the book could definitely help young readers along. ( )
  mdaniel54 | Jan 27, 2013 |
Hamlet is a tale of betrayal. Hamlet is haunted by what he believes to be his father's ghost. I know when I read this in high school, I had difficulty reading it because Shakespearan language is very different from ours. Coville does a marvelous job translating Shakespeare's play, making it easier on the reader. The illustrations help the visual learner and give the story added character (after all, Shakespeare's plays were meant to be seen not heard). ( )
  ckarmstr1 | Nov 22, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0803727089, Hardcover)

There is arguably no work of fiction quoted as often as William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This haunting tragedy has touched audiences for centuries. Now Bruce Coville makes this play the next of his dynamic adaptations of the Bard for the young. Once again, he expertly incorporates essential lines from the play into his own rich prose to tell the tale of the ill-fated Prince of Denmark.

Acclaimed artist Leonid Gore adds intense, dreamlike images in acrylic and pastel. His depictions of Hamlet, Ophelia, and the rest of the kingdom are revelatory and unforgettable, helping to make this masterful volume a treasure for Shakespeare enthusiasts old and new.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:12 -0400)

Retells, in simplified prose, William Shakespeare's play about a prince of Denmark who seeks revenge for his father's murder.

(summary from another edition)

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