A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn the language, plot, context, and meaning of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Everything is included in-app with easy access to notes, vocabulary, synopsis, and analysis. Kids can add their own notes to help with essay writing, record questions, or deepen their understanding. Shakespeare in Bits: Romeo & Juliet iPad Edition makes a great supplement for kids studying Romeo & Juliet in school or just looking to explore Shakespeare on their own.
Ease of Play
Scenes are divided into easy-to-digest sections with about a page of text each and accompanying video. Video and text are side by side so kids can follow along. The app is tabbed and easy to navigate, with clickable words highlighted to stand out.
Violence & Scariness
Violence is central to the play. Three of the characters are slain by swordplay. Cartoon videos depict the stabbings in silhouette, and characters are shown with blood on their chests and mouths. Both central characters commit suicide by drinking poison.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The play emphasizes love rather than sex, but there are a few examples of Shakespeare's trademark "bawdy humor" at work. In the opening scene, two servants make sexual puns about taking a maid's virginity (cutting off their "maidenheads").
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Shakespeare in Bits: Romeo & Juliet iPad Edition presents the full text of the play enriched with extra goodies to help facilitate deeper understanding and enjoyment of the material. Kids can click on highlighted words and phrases to get their modern translations and historical context and to understand how certain lines tie into the play's larger themes. There also are scene notes and synopses, character profiles, notable quotes, and a bio of Shakespeare; however, the app's crowning achievements are the cartoon reenactments of every scene that literally bring the play to life, complete with lines that highlight in red as they're being spoken so readers can easily follow along. There is a similar version for the iPhone and iPod Touch called Shakespeare in Bits: Romeo and Juliet that costs $7.99. You also can try each version for free with the Lite versions.
Is It Any Good?
SHAKESPEARE IN BITS: ROMEO & JULIET IPAD EDITION, as with the other Shakespeare in Bits apps, is an invaluable study guide for students or anyone looking to immerse themselves in one of Shakespeare's most famous works. As if the annotated version of the play wasn't enough, you can follow along with cartoon videos and hear every line read by professional actors (Kate Beckinsale and Michael Sheen), which enriches the experience considerably. And, unlike some Cliff's Notes-type books, you don't get the impression that the only purpose of this app is to help students write essays. It was truly designed to help people get the most out of a classic piece of literature.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.