Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, retold by Terry Deary

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Terry Deary's Shakespeare's tales series. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781472917867
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Romeo and Juliet. Another in this series taking Shakespeare's stories to a wider audience, offers Romeo and Juliet as seen by the boy who plays Juliet as well as general dogsbody behind the scenes. Through Sam's eyes we see the company put on this wellknown play, donning his costume, helping others with theirs, fetching actors to appear on stage, and watching the audience. Through his eyes, Deary is able to breathe a different perspective into the play, offering readers a look by someone their own age, marvelling at the writing, acting and general demeanor of the stage craft. The play itself is outlined from beginning to end so that the reader gains a good coverage of what happens and why.
Stage directions, chats with the actors, illustrations of the Globe theatre and London at the time all add to the background presented in this series, making Shakespeare accessible to a younger audience.
And with the plague at London's door and in people's minds, the hint of someone coughing is enough to divert the audience's attention, but not for long.
Fran Knight