A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare, rewritten by Terry Deary
Shakespeare Tales series. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Shakespeare, Elizabethan times. As with Macbeth, this story is told through the eyes of Molly, a servant with a troupe of players who tour England presenting Shakespeare's plays to whatever audience comes along. One of the actors, Richard Armin, is the fool employed in many of the plays. Molly tells us that Shakespeare even wrote comic scenes in some of the sadder plays to include Armin. But she and Armin do not like each other and he treats her badly.
The background tale of Molly and her place within the troupe is lively and informative and will give readers an idea of just how children their age survived in these perilous times. This book is set in a Nottingham Market and readers will see for themselves the lifestyles of the people in the town in Elizabethan times.
Against Molly's story is that of A Midsummer Night's Dream, with a precis of the play given between Molly's tale. Deary gives the reader a brief but satisfyingly ample outline of the tale with the fairy Oberon making his wife love the first person she sees when she wakes after being given a love potion. The comedy has her seeing a donkey while the other characters, Hermia, Demetrius, Helena and Lysander are also given the love potion and much confusion arises as two of these people are supposed to marry each other and two are planning to elope. Confusion ensues from all directions, but is it all a dream?
The series of books now includes four plays, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night, designed to bring Shakespeare to a new audience.