Review Blog

Dec 14 2009

Willy Waggledagger: A belt around my bum by Martin Chatterton

cover image

Little Hare, 2009.
ISBN: 9781921272981.
(Ages 8-12) The young Willy Waggledagger, AKA William Shakespeare, the eleven year old son of a local tanner, is traveling with the Black Skulls theatre troupe to perform for Queen Elizabeth. When the self-appointed 'King of the Faeries' confronts the troupe and demands they retrieve his 'Golden Girdle' from the Queen, Willy is given a love potion to assist in the task. Things begin to go dramatically wrong when the potion is taken by the wrong characters and Willy again has to work hard and fast to resolve the situation.
As a humorous novel which shares some elements of A Midsummer Night's Dream, this romp through the childhood of William Shakespeare is hardly on a par with the works of the Bard. It is not brilliantly crafted 'literature' but is nonetheless an enjoyable read and could provide children with an introduction to Shakespeare's plays.
Gregory Rogers' illustrations, particularly the silhouette style used on the cover, add their own unique brand of humour to the story. Both cover and title would be likely to draw the child in and maintain interest to the end to see how the story concludes. This could be a welcome addition as a class read aloud.
Jo Schenkel

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