What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this book includes some swordplay that leads to wounds and death. There's also some teen drinking, lying, and a mention of an affair.
What's the story?
When orphaned Widge is apprenticed to Dr. Bright, he learns the doctor's method of shorthand and is bought by Simon Bass, who wants Widge to steal Shakespeare's newest play, Hamlet, by transcribing it secretly.
Once inside the Globe Theater, Widge is enthralled by the play and taken in by the company as an apprentice. Soon Widge is torn by his fear of his master, his loyalty to the people who have treated him as a friend, and his growing desire to continue as an actor.
Is it any good?
What more could you want in an adventure: There's a plucky orphan finally finding a home, some swashbuckling swordplay, Elizabethan theater, a girl posing as a boy, and a dastardly villain who is not what he seems. As a nice bonus, Gary Blackwood's THE SHAKESPEARE STEALER also illuminates an interesting problem: the stealing of plays in Elizabethan England. With its fast pace, unusual setting, and even more unusual crime, this has found a ready audience among the upper elementary and middle school set.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about the ethical dilemma Widge is in: to risk his life or betray his new friends. With a little luck, children may want to know more about the Shakespearean plays mentioned here.