Tag Archives: shakespeare

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

I’ve heard good things about this book in various places, but I put it on my TBR list after listening to episode 17 of the What Should I Read Next podcast. I decided it had been a while since I’d read a post-apocalyptic book and it was time to check it off my reading list.

Published: 2014

Genre: post-apocalyptic fiction

Length: 333 pages

Setting: various places in North America, near future Continue reading


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Romeo and/or Juliet by Ryan North

This was a book Mr. Curiosity found recently at the library. He had picked up To Be or Not To Be (a choose-your-own adventure version of Hamlet) last year and really enjoyed it. So, when he saw there was another similar book, he grabbed it.

Published: 2016

Genre: choose your own adventure fiction

Length: there are 476 pages in the book, but you’ll never read all of them

Setting: the world of Romeo and Juliet, which bounces around in time, depending on which adventure path you take Continue reading

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Myths and More

We are continuing to study Norse mythology, with a bit of a break and short vacation for Thanksgiving. This week was a full week, though, so we could sneak in as many days as possible before Christmas. The kids are still reading Norse myths, at least the children’s version of them. They’ve started on Odin’s Family, myths of the Vikings retold by Neil Philip. This has a few new myths from the other book we were reading, but still has a pretty tame version of Ragnorak.

There’s also quite a few novels that are based around Norse mythology. One little gem is Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman. Gaiman is well known in the fantasy and science fiction realms, and his writing usually has a touch of the horror in it (which is a no-go for my sensitive kids). This book is safe for the younger crowd, though, as Odd goes on a quest to solve the winter that won’t end, which involves some Norse gods and a Frost Giant or two in the city of Asgard. At under 150 pages, it’s a quick read and hits a different aspect of Norse myths than you often get.

Mr. Curiosity found a fun book in the library this week – To Be or Not To Be by Ryan North and William Shakespeare. This book is a choose-your-own adventure version of Hamlet. You get to choose to be either Ophelia, Hamlet, or Hamlet, Sr. and make your way through major events of the play. Of course, there’s a modern flair to the book as well, and a full-page illustration when you end a storyline. It’s got some big-name illustrators. Mr. Curiosity recognized the artist who does Nimona as well as XKCD. This is a hefty book (700+ pages) but lots of fun to read through. There’s even a choose-your-own adventure book within the book! The trick is to find all the different endings – you can see the cool pictures, but often can’t figure out how to get there. All in all, a fun twist on Shakespeare

Linking up with the Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers’ Weekly Wrap-Up


If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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Shakespeare Unit Study

The kids and I had fun learning about Shakespeare this past month. We managed to cover two plays, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Tempest”, as well as a bit of history about Shakespeare himself, and I think everyone enjoyed themselves.We followed the same strategy for each play.

For each play, we first read an adapted version of the play that highlighted the action without using Shakespeare’s language. There are two older adaptations that are great for kids – E. Nesbit’s Shakespeare’s Stories for Young Readers and Charles Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare. Both are available free online from either the Kindle store or Gutenberg. I tried both this past month, and couldn’t really see a big difference between the two. After reading the adapted play, I looked for a graphic novel of the play, to give the action a more visual element. We also looked through Marcia Williams’ Tales from Shakespeare. She combined a summary of the play with key lines from the play told by actors in a comic strip format.

Once we finished reading about the plays. we were ready to watch the play. One of the reasons I had thought to do Shakespeare was because PBS was showing Shakespeare Uncovered. It’s an hour-long program that

reveals the extraordinary world and works of William Shakespeare and the still-potent impact his plays have today. The films combine interviews with actors, directors and scholars, along with visits to key locations, clips from some of the most-celebrated film and television adaptations, and illustrative excerpts from the plays staged specially for the series at Shakespeare’s Globe in London.

We managed to find an episode on both plays we were studying. Finally, we were ready to watch the play. By this time, we had such a good idea of what was going on that we had no problem following along with the play, despite the typically difficult language.

To go along with all of our reading and watching, I decided we should play with Shakespeare’s words as well. I found a few websites that provided a list of words Shakespeare coined. We used these words to do MadLibs. While it works with any MadLibs book, I found a couple of Shakespeare’s most famous soliloquies turned into MadLibs, which was even better!

Finally, we studied a bit of Shakespeare’s life as well as his works. Bard of Avon: The Story of William Shakespeare, by Diane Stanley and Peter Vennema, provides some information on Shakespeare’s life, including what we do and do not know for sure, in narrative form. Shakespeare: His Work and His World, by Michael Rosen, talks more about his plays, incorporating Shakespeare’s words into the narrative.

There’s all kinds of information on Shakespeare and his works. These are just the ones that worked well for us. Hope you find something useful in the list.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!


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Weekly Wrap-Up: The Tempest

This week was a busy one. I think we had somewhere to be outside of the house every day. Even so, we managed to get some schooling in and used a couple of new books. We’re still studying Shakespeare, but we’ve finished with A Midsummer Night’s Dream and have moved on to The Tempest (Mr. Curiosity’s choice). There’s a couple of choices to read summarized-for-children versions of Shakespeare. I’ve used both E. Nesbit’s Shakespeare’s Stories for Young Readers and Charles Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare. Both are available free online from either the Kindle store or Gutenberg. They turn the play into a story that covers all the major plot points, but don’t use his language. My goal is to get the kids knowledgeable about what’s going on so they can follow along when we watch the play.

Since we’re reading The Tempest, I found a graphic take on the play. The Tempest (Graphic Shakespeare), adapted by Daniel Conner, isn’t as in-depth as the graphic novel we found for A Midsummer Night’s Dream but still puts a visual component to the reading. It also uses language closer to what Shakespeare used in his play. Next week we’ll watch the play.

One last Shakespeare book for the week – Top Ten Shakespeare Stories by Terry Deary. It’s written for a YA audience and provides a little background into ten of Shakespeare’s most well-known plays, including elements the original audiences would have known that we’re less likely to catch. There’s also a summary of the plot of each of the play, told from the viewpoint of one of the main characters. It’s an interesting addition to our other books.

And those are the books we read this week, linking up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap-Up.



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Weekly Wrap-Up: Shakespeare

It’s a new month, which means a new topic. I thought this month we’d go back to the classics, namely Shakespeare. We did Shakespeare when Mr. Curiosity was in third grade, which is where Miss Adventure is now. Shakespeare is definitely important enough that we can study his life and works multiple times. I do like to cover both aspects of Shakespeare, so I have two types of books that we used this week.

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