All member reviews for The Shakespeare Stealer

Common Sense Media says

A fresh look at Shakespeare for young readers.

Users say

(out of 12 reviews)
age 10+
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Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written bypeony April 9, 2008

Fun and interesting Shakespeare tie-in; some anti-Semitism depicted

Quite enjoyable. The Shakespeare tie-in is nicely done: not only with some language, and background of particular plays being performed, but even that the particular plays being performed relate to some degree to the themes of the book; for instance Hamlet (Widge has to decide what really matters to him, and what he really wants to do), and The Merchant of Venice (with some ambiguity about the "villain" of the story). But parents should be aware that some anti-Semitism is expressed (true to the time) by characters and never really challenged, and it's left rather ambiguous whether the villain of the book himself had some Jewish background. Especially with younger kids, this probably needs some discussion with parents. An older teen's excessive drinking is criticized. A "bad" character dies in a sword-fight; it's treated as a serious, sad event, not merely as a righteous "triumph".
Kid, 10 years old April 9, 2008

The best book I have ever read!!!!

This book is about a boy named Widge, and he is an orphan. He gets sold to a man who wants him to steal the play of Hamlet by William Shakespeare. So Widge has to find a way to get the book without getting caught. He ends up doing some other tasks so he can get the book. This thriller book shows friendship, wisdom, and adventure. Does Widge decide to steal the book, or does he have a change of heart? You will have to read the book to find out.
Parent of a 12 year old Written bysuedeani January 4, 2010

Another side to Shakespeare

This book provides a wonderful back door entry in to the world of Shakespeare. It gives a realistic idea of what it was like to live during that period. It shows just how brutal poverty could be at that time and how a few good people could help set a child on the right path. It allows a perspective on Shakespeare that would otherwise be hard to acquire. It also gives another insight on plagiarism.
What other families should know
Educational value
Teen, 13 years old Written byjonasgirl123 April 9, 2008
Teen, 14 years old Written bylzrpac March 18, 2009

Not bad.

Well, I had to read this book for summer reading. I honestly thought it was going to be terrible, and the first few pages were. but after I actually got into it, I could not put the book down. I really recommend this book if you can stand a couple of bad beginnings.
Parent of a 9 year old Written byKidDad August 5, 2010
I am surprised the CS review does not address the themes of anti-semitism in the Shakespeare Stealer. While historically accurate, there is no context or perspective for younger readers. One of the subplots is hatred of Jews--while a lot of books deal with racism or bigotry, there is usually balance or a moral. Not so here. Not that the author is advocating, just that the negative stereotypes are presented as a matter of fact with no offsetting perspective. By the end of the book (in which the subplot plays a part), the anti-semitism felt gratiutous and, in terms of the ending, a bit ridiculous. I found a lot to like about this book--it is a fun introduction to Shakespeare and life in London during the middle ages. But the ending (which is simply a medieval version of a car chase and shoot out) and the unbalanced portrayal of Jews, makes this hard to recommend, particularly for younger readers (10 and under).
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 16 years old Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008

A great book that had me reading it tell the end!!!!

Teen, 14 years old Written bymenmedrano April 9, 2008

it was fun

its a good book about the olod days and adventure
Teen, 13 years old Written byHannah Griener October 15, 2009

Oh No No No No No!!!

I hate this book. I had to read it in class and i was so bored with it. I read Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and it was good(even though it has nothing to do with this book).
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written bythebookworm5791 July 8, 2010

A Great Book with Twists and Turns

I had to read this book for school, and I loved it! It was definitely the kind of book I like to read (adventure, twists in the plot, betrayal, and a little bit of mystery). I have friends my age who hated it, though. I can see where they are coming from. They said that Widge (the main character) was such a lame character. They also said that something else should have happened with Julien. I didn't think that at all, but some people may think the way my friends think.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byLizKRoss August 28, 2012


There is a lot of fencing, but only practicing. It was an interesting book, though very hard to understand if no background historical knowledge is known.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 11 years old February 2, 2011


More than an affair is mentioned, including cheating, nd teen love. There is also a TON of fighting, a little cursing, and cruelty. But it teaches about Shakespeare, Widge is learining about control of his life, and there are a lot of positive messeges. :)
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models