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William Shakespeare & the Globe by Aliki
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William Shakespeare & the Globe

by Aliki

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I loved this Shakespeare resource and found it to be overflowing with information. There is at least one quote from one of Shakespeare's plays on each page, and the illustrations (which appear to be done in crayon and colored pencils) are so vibrant and intriguing. There is a "dictionary" listing the words and phrases Shakespeare is credited with creating as well as a complete list of his works including a cartoon-like illustration to preview the content. The author shares the story of the Bard's life and focuses on the various theatres in England (awesome information about theatre placement, etc.) This book also includes the story of the architect who rediscovered the original location of the Globe and was responsible for rebuilding the historic landmark. Very fascinating! Makes me want to visit London and see one of my favorite plays at the Globe (even more than I did before). ( )
  jcarroll12 | Jul 28, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this book. I liked how the author chose to place various quotes from Shakespeare throughout the book to show its flexibility and relevance. The last part of the book where the author gives a list of various words and sayings that Shakespeare created was pretty interesting. I didn't realize how much of an impact Shakespeare had on everyday speech. And I'm sure that my students would enjoy seeing how they use his sayings today. Students often look at Shakespeare as antiquated and irrelevant, so the list would be a nice bridge between Shakespeare and today.

The book also brought about some things that I never knew and never thought I knew. For instance, everyone knows the song about London bridge falling down, but it never registered with me that the bridge actually fell down. It may be my ignorance or lack of basic thinking, but it was interesting to learn that the bridge actually fell. Also, learning that the Globe theatre burning down and being resurrected was pretty cool. You have to enjoy when someone completes something with pure passion.
  jhuynh5 | Apr 20, 2014 |
The nonfiction book entitled William Shakespeare & the Globe written and illustrated by Aliki is a marvelous, insightful book that is full of fascinating information about William Shakespeare’s life and his career as a writer. The author opens the book with several verses from As You Like It, The Winter’s Tale, The Merchant of Venice, and The Tempest as a method of briefly introducing some examples of Shakespeare’s literature. I believe that this book is intended for a young audience between the ages of 9 and 12 because of the book’s length of 43 pages and its colorful and whimsical illustrations, but even as an adult, I learned a great deal about this legendary writer and would recommend this book to more mature readers, as well.

In summary, Aliki goes back in time to when William (Will) was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, England in 1564 and briefly discusses his family life, school experience, and marriage before he ventures to London in search of work to support his own growing family. The author also momentarily introduces a more modern-day boy by the name of Sam Wanamaker and that he has a dream that will be explained later in the book.

Each chapter is cleverly expressed in “acts and scenes” in order to mimic the famous playwright’s writing strategy. Each page is filled with meticulously drawn illustrations with their own captions that go well with the rest of the written text. Aliki seems to chat with the reader as she describes the noisy, dirty London streets, London Bridge, and the ways of Elizabethan life. Queen Elizabeth was a patron of the arts and supported music, singing, dancing, and acting with great passion. Entertainers began popping up everywhere and Will was exposed to this artistic movement which is believed to have inspired his interest and eventual participation as an actor and writer.

Traveling actors became prominent, as well as animal baiting events that were conducted in special arenas. Since actors were not considered respectable folks, possibly due to their gypsy-type traveling, one particular actor named James Burbage came up with the brilliant idea of making a permanent home similar to the animal baiting arenas where the actors could perform and regain some dignity. He leased some land on the outskirts of London and built the first public playhouse called The Theatre and it was a huge success, but not without its critics who considered playhouses to be a contributor of noise, disease, crime, and debauchery. Soon, however, several other playhouses were erected, such as The Rose The Swan, The Hope, The Fortune, The Curtain, and eventually, The Globe.

Will actually began his career as an actor and playwright at The Theatre in which the company became known as Lord Chamberlain’s Men and was thought of as the best in London. Rival acting companies had their own actors and writers who were also talented, however. As a matter of fact, Christopher Marlowe was a playwright for The Rose and was considered to be equally talented to Shakespeare, but suddenly died in a brawl, leaving no one else to compete with Will’s genius. Shakespeare’s plays were becoming famous and other acting companies were also performing them. After writing two long poems and dedicating them to a young nobleman named the Earl of Southhampton, the Earl was so honored that he became Will’s patron. The Theatre experienced twenty-one years of prosperity, but later had to be secretly dismantled and moved to another location when the landowner Giles Allen refused to renew The Theater’s lease. After all, the acting company owned the building and while Allen was away, the actors moved the structure piece by piece across the Thames at night and began building their new theater they called The Globe because as they reasoned - all the world’s a stage.

The Globe was an instant success and William Shakespeare wrote all of the plays that were performed there. It was an elaborate playhouse with different seating areas offered at various prices for the rich and the poor, had painted columns, a stage wall, trap doors in the ceiling and floor, and special effects were provided by musicians and a cannon that shot blanks for sound effects. The actors too wore decorative costumes that once belonged to people of nobility.

Over the course of the next 12 years, Will wrote some of his best plays largely due to the fact that he was experiencing dark moments in his personal life, such as the death of his only son Hamnet. When Queen Elizabeth died and James I succeeded as king, the arts were encouraged even more so and Will who was a shareholder in The Globe became a very prosperous man. When he felt as though he had accomplished what he had set out to do in his career, Will moved back home to Stratford and bought his family one of the finest houses in the area called New Place.

Soon afterward, disaster struck during one of the plays being performed at The Globe. A spark from the cannon set the thatched roof on fire and although no one was hurt, the building was completely destroyed. Without delay a second Globe was built in the old theater’s foundations and was more glorious than the first. King James I became William Shakespeare’s new patron and Ben Jonson, Will’s friend, delighted audiences with his plays and musical dance-dramas while Inigo Jones, an architect, designed lavish sets and costumes for the performances.

It was now time for Will to rest at his new home in Stratford where he wrote his last plays. He died a few years later on his fifty-second birthday and was buried in Holy Trinity Church. Later, his friends John Heminges and Henry Condell collected 36 of Will’s plays and published them in a book called The First Folio. If they had not done this, Shakespeare’s work would have been lost to the world forever. About 20 years later, the Puritans destroyed the playhouses and The Globe was soon covered over with new buildings.

Four hundred years later, Sam Wanamaker was a young actor from Chicago who had seen a model of the famous English playhouse and longed to visit The Globe. In 1949 when he made a trip to London in the hopes of touring the theater where most of his idol’s work was performed, to his dismay all he found was a simple plaque on a wall near the site of where The Globe once stood. He was determined to find a way to rebuild this once renowned theater. With years of work and dedication, Sam developed a team of experts and professionals to raise the money, do the research, purchase the land, and build an exact replica of The Globe, so that William Shakespeare’s plays could be performed in all their glory once again in the theater that was his home away from home.

Aliki intricately describes how each construction detail was carried out with illustrations to back up what she explains. After 30 years of hard work, The Globe once again opened its doors on June 12, 1997 for audiences to enjoy Shakespeare’s plays. Sadly, however, Sam, his wife, and the architect Theo Crosby all died before they were able to see their dream come to complete fruition, but the shows continue to go on with Sam and Will both living on through the Globe and the plays that are performed there.

In terms of accuracy, the author Aliki seems to have conducted extensive research on both William Shakespeare’s life and the history of The Globe because she acknowledges so many people who apparently helped her in her work at the beginning of the book. Through her discussion of literature, history, biography, archaeology, and architecture, her research appears to be substantial. Although her educational qualifications are not mentioned, she has written numerous other nonfiction books for young readers. She includes both facts about Shakespeare’s life and opinions concerning his genius as a writer in her book. Also her book was published in 1999 which is fairly recent, allowing her to find the latest information on The Globe since it was completed in 1997.

As far as content is concerned, the scope of William Shakespeare & the Globe is rather extensive for a young readers’ book because the author talks about Shakespeare’s birth, family life, marriage, career as an actor and writer, his retirement, and death. The depth, however is not too deep because the book is only about 43 pages in length, so as not to overwhelm the readers. The focus is on target with the author achieving the purpose of divulging many aspects of Shakespeare’s life, career, and the theater where his plays were performed to the readers.

Aliki’s writing style is one that uses clear language that seems to be organized and accessible to the target audience. Pictures and captions help to clarify any information that may be a bit complicated due to the time period in which Shakespeare lived and the language that was used in his writing. Some of the author’s language is vivid when describing The Globe and is also interesting and emotionally charged because she is an obvious fan of Shakespeare’s work as she also mentions on the inside back cover. Her tone of voice is one the mimics a conversation with the reader, but has a touch of partisan quality to it as well because of her admiration for this notable writer’s talent.

The organization is one that appears to be primarily chronological because although she mentions Sam briefly at the beginning of the book, she reverts back in time to when William Shakespeare was born and what occurred in his life until his death. She presents her information in a story narrative fashion and explains both familiar and unfamiliar concepts to the reader in terms of how acting was carried out then as compared to today.

Several reference aids exist in the book, as well that help the reader to better grasp what Aliki is trying to say. For example, there are chapters that are presented as “acts with scenes” with titles that help the reader know what to expect. She also provides an Aside that gives some background about William Shakespeare and the mystery that surrounds his life. A Prologue starts the book off and brings Sam Wanamaker into the picture who is mentioned later at the end of the book. A Table of Contents also divides the book into understandable, chronological events for the reader.

Other appended matter or access features include a list of Shakespeare’s Works (plays and poems), a Chronology of the famous writer’s life, Elizabethan events, Sam Wanamaker’s life, and the rebuilding of the Globe, Words and Expressions that are used today that come from Shakespeare, such as “For goodness’ sake”, “Eaten me out of house and home”, and “Good riddance”, and Sites to Visit in London concerning the playwright.

The format uses extensive illustrations that not only add interest to the text, but also help to explain it better. Without these visual depictions, understanding much of what Aliki describes would be much more challenging. A map of London with the river Thames and the locations of the various playhouses, helps the reader to better visualize how the city was designed and where the theaters were positioned outside the city limits. A map key is also offered to clarify what the different elements on the map represent.

Other access features include a cover that lets the reader know right away that the book is about William Shakespeare because the image we associate with him adorns it with The Globe in the background. An end page also exists on the inside front cover of the book that gives the potential reader a glimpse into what the book will entail. An index is not available, but doesn’t need to be, in my opinion because of the length of the book. A glossary also is unavailable which could possibly add to the reader better understanding some of the older British terms that are used, such as nobility, Elizabethan, Privy Council, Puritans, Earl, and Lords. No sidebars exist, but the illustrations with their expository captions sort of replace this access feature. A bibliography would have been helpful to allow the reader to know where the author retrieved her information to write this book, but was nonexistent. And, as was mentioned previously, there is an author’s acknowledgement section, and an Aside which functions as a type of introduction.

As a future middle school English teacher, I would definitely use this book in my class because it is well-written, has wonderful illustrations, and contains a plethora of information about William Shakespeare and the theater where his plays were performed. In terms of my students carrying out activities where this book is concerned, acting out scenes from Shakespearean plays of choice would be an obvious idea, along with composing original poems using Shakespearean figures of speech, such as “hot-blooded”, “We have seen better days”, and “The be-all and the end-all” in which the students would present them to the rest of the class. ( )
  cdaugher | Apr 6, 2013 |
William Shakespeare & the Globe by Aliki traces the life and times of William Shakespeare up until his death. But, the book doesn't stop there. It also delves into the impact his great contributions had on our world today.

Written and illustrated by Aliki, William Shakespeare and the Globe is presented in interesting ways. There is a bit of flare tossed in with the usual biographical flourish of facts, yet the language remains easily accessible. The panels of illustration provide almost a comic book-like feel at times. The drawings do, however, leave a bit to be desired. After reading the wonderful Coville and Nolan adaptations of Shakespeare's works, this rather bland coloration of the writer himself was a bit of a letdown. Perhaps that is a metaphor for the life of a writer.

Used as a teaching tool, Aliki's William Shakespeare and the Globe could be rated as excellent for young readers. As pure entertainment? Not so much. ( )
  mdaniel54 | Jan 27, 2013 |
A great book about Shakespeare's life and work. All that he did for playwrights during his lifetime and even after his death. I enjoyed this book, because it actually did introduce some facts that not all books talk about with Shakespeare. I would like to use this book in my classroom. ( )
  Eclouse | Apr 24, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0064437221, Paperback)

"How many ages hence/ Shall this our lofty scene be acted over/ In states unborn and accents yet unknown!" In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, he prophesies his own future more accurately than he may ever have dreamed. Although Shakespeare's works have touched people everywhere, very little is known of his life. Well-loved author and illustrator Aliki pulls together clues from writings, drawings, history, birth, marriage, and death records, and from Shakespeare's own plays, in this vibrant introduction to one of the greatest writers of all time.

Cleverly arranged as a play, with an aside and acts one through five, the book features a quotation from one of Shakespeare's plays on every spread. Bite-sized chunks of text are interspersed with the lovely detailed illustrations Aliki is famous for, making what might be a difficult subject very accessible. In addition, there are charts listing Shakespeare's plays, a chronology of his life, sidebars with mini-biographies of significant people in his life, and a partial list of words and expressions he invented (gloomy, moonbeam, mountaineer, zany, and bated breath, among 2,000 others!). Aliki also devotes a special section to Sam Wanamaker, a 20th-century man with a dream to reopen Shakespeare's Globe playhouse in London. (Ages 7 and older) --Emilie Coulter

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:15 -0400)

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Tells the story of the well-known playwright, William Shakespeare, and of the famous Globe Theatre in which many of his works were performed.

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