Macbeth by William Shakespeare, rewritten by Terry Deary
Shakespeare Tales series. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Shakespeare, Macbeth, Elizabethan times. In this lively series, a character is introduced who becomes a narrator presenting the play within the confines of that person's life and times. With Macbeth we meet potgirl, Mary as she cleans up the blood on the stage after another performance of Macbeth. She tells us about the pig's blood used for the killing scenes, and between her talk about her life and work, the author presents the play.
Mary is a sympathetic character, a young girl taken into the harsh service of a tavern owner, a person who treats her badly, yelling at her in front of customers, beating her when she does things wrong, and paying her very little. She must take the jug of ale around to the customers while they stand in the yard watching the play, and she learns the play well. She talks to some of the actors, showing the reader how these men exist going form town to town, and she meets William Shakespeare. After one particularly nasty scolding from her employer she hides in one of the stage baskets and gets away, joining the troupe.
All the while the play is going on, and we read a summary of the plot and characters in text designed for the younger reader. The story is well written for a younger audience and the series will add to the growing interest in Shakespeare's plays for this audience. At the end of each book is given several pages of lively information about the play.