The Tempest presents an edited version of one of Shakespeare's most famous plays. The fact that it is edited is an essential aspect of its success. Skilful cutting preserves key speeches and retains the work's shape and momentum while avoiding passages that may have less relevance to modern audiences. The edited original text is accompanied by a modern English translation throughout. This simplified version puts Shakespeare's work into understandable, contemporary language. It goes for clarity of expression rather than poetic effect and is a brilliant support for those who would otherwise struggle to comprehend Shakespeare's verse. Both Shakespeare's text and its modern translation are presented throughout in comic book style. The vivid two colour illustrations have their own intrinsic appeal, but also provide important information about setting, historical context, atmosphere and character. The Shakespeare Comic Book Series has become an established and popular part of the English curriculum in many UK schools. Mainly used by teachers at KS 2-4, the comic book approach to his work has been described by one teacher as 'the perfect introduction to Shakespeare.'
Publisher: The Shakespeare Comic Book Company Ltd
Number of pages: 64
Dimensions: 297 x 211 mm
Edition: New edition
Author Naomi Alderman was full of praise for The Shakespeare Comic Book Series when she talked about the comic book approach to Shakespeare on BBC Radio 4's Open Book programme. Describing it as 'amazing', she went on to say that it was the perfect form in which to present his plays because 'It's really like a staging of Shakespeare - It has the depth of a movie so that you can have tiny things going on in the background that an observant reader will pick up on and you have the ability to read it slowly like a book so that unlike a film it doesn't race past.' Developing this theme, that the comic book presentation allowed the reader both to appreciate the text while observing the play's visual context, she went on to say, 'You can take it at your own pace and so I think for things like Shakespeare where you really want to be focusing on the words but at the same time seeing the staging - it's just the perfect form for that.' Naomi Alderman's enthusiasm has been reflected by huge numbers of teachers and parents. Linda Arthan, a special needs teacher from Shropshire wrote; 'The Shakespeare Comic Book Series is an absolute godsend for those of us wishing to bring to life the dramatic storylines of Shakespeare. They convert difficult language and concepts into user friendly modern English. The comic books are full of vivid illustrations. A great resource for pupils of all abilities.' Another teacher, Helen Reynolds of Devon was more concise. She said the comic books were 'the perfect introduction to Shakespeare!' Parents have been equally delighted. Mrs C Baker of Sheffield wrote, 'Both my boys used the comic books. As beginners to Shakespeare, they made their understanding and enjoyment so much greater. For boys who were not keen readers, the comic book format was an outstanding help. I can't speak highly enough of them.' As emphatic was Melissa Dolan of Surrey whose child was struggling with Shakespeare for exams. She said, 'You saved my daughter's life! You saved my sanity!' As a small publishing house, The Shakespeare Comic Book Co. has yet to receive adequate national press recognition. One notice has appeared. Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Education Editor, John Clare, was full of praise for the series. He wrote, 'I am rather taken by a new publishing venture called Comic Book Shakespeare. Each play is presented in the original text edited to preserve all the key speeches. These, accompanied by a translation into modern English, issue in bubbles from characters who are simply but attractively drawn - This is an intellectually respectable introduction - which is more than can be said for most computer-based attempts to make Shakespeare 'accessible.' The comic books have enjoyed some academic attention. Lieke Stelling of Utrecht University wrote a long and thoughtful review of A Midsummer Night's Dream. She concluded, 'Greaves does not attempt to jazz up the play with funny comments or drawings that call too much attention to themselves. It is precisely Greaves' straightforward and unpretentious approach, reflected in both the visual and textual translation, that makes the book a welcome addition to the existing range of Shakespeare comics. It is attractive for older pupils who want to be taken seriously in their study of Shakespeare, and a great source of inspiration for teachers.' Perhaps the last word should go to readers themselves. At the older end of the scale, GCSE student Mary Edwards of Buckinghamshire said, 'It made Romeo and Juliet really understandable and entertaining.' At the younger end, Sonni, aged 6, in Kent was unambiguous, writing, 'I really like the blood on the dagger and the red witch eyes.' Equally emphatic about the comic books was Ashley, also of Kent, who said of the comic books, 'They are brilliant and I couldn't stop reading them!'