All parent member reviews for The Shakespeare Stealer

Parents say

(out of 3 reviews)
age 11+
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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".
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
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