From the Publisher
"[Lois Burdett's] delightfully entertaining text is complemented by her students' thoughtful interpretations and charming artwork which make Much Ado About Nothing come alive in a whole new way."
From the Author
Shakespeare Can Be Fun!
Most students will be exposed to the works of Shakespeare, typically in high school. The language and content of the plays is seen as too difficult for younger children but primary children are underestimated as to what they can accomplish given the challenge. The study of Shakespeare has become an integral part of my grade two program at Hamlet School, in Stratford, Ontario, Canada.
When I first moved to Stratford, I had no intention of teaching Shakespeare to 7 and 8 year olds. Stratford is a beautiful city noted for its Shakespearean theatre and I was interested that the schools were all named after Shakespearean characters. I asked my class, "Who is William Shakespeare?" and "Why is our school called Hamlet?" Their answers were surprising. One thought he was a famous boxer. Another believed he was the President of Canada. A third student responded, "I don't know who William Shakespeare is. I don't know any of the big kids." It was the children's enthusiasm and excitement on making the connection between an historical figure and the name of their school, which led me to continue. Thirty years later I can't imagine teaching anywhere in the world and not introducing Shakespeare. The study provided tremendous growth, particularly in the area of language and communication and evolved into a learning experience of a lifetime. I have endeavored in my books and workshops for teachers to share the excitement of exploring with children, the timeless emotions and ideas of Shakespeare.
The comments of two of my children, written at various times in their daily journals show the lasting impression Shakespeare has had on them.
"Shakespeare is like a big piece of chocolate cake. Once you've started you wish you could go on and on forever, in a non-stopping dream." (Anika, age 7)
"William's incredible words are like a velvet silk coat that rap around his pure thoughts. His pen writes on like all colors of the wind." (Sean, age 7)
About the Author
Lois Burdett has received many commendations for her work including Encyclopedia Britannica's National Award for Early Childhood Education, Canada's Meritorious Service Medal, the Canadian Teachers' Federation's Hilroy Fellowship and two writers' awards. Her many speaking engagements have included the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English. Lois Burdett has given children a gift to last a lifetime.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Beatrice approached, with Claudio by the hand,
"I've brought the Count, as was your command."
Don Pedro inquired, "My friend, why are you sad?
What's wrong with you, Claudio? Are you sick, my lad?"
But this faulty notion, Beatrice tried to dispel,
"The Count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor well.
He's jealous and thinks you tricked him, my lord!"
"Claudio, your beliefs are false!" the Prince deplored.
"I have wooed in thy name and fair Hero is won,
Her father has consented. Now my job is done."
Then Leonato arrived with Hero by his side.
"Count Claudio, take my sweet daughter for your bride."
The young man was speechless and knew not what to do.
"Speak, Count!" urged Beatrice, "Tis your cue!"
Claudio stammered, "Dear Hero, my heart soars."
He promised, "Lady, as you are mine, I am yours!"
Beatrice prompted Hero, "Speak cousin, or, if you cannot,
Stop his mouth with a kiss. Give it your best shot!"
Any thoughts of betrayal they would now replace,
And soon the two were locked in a loving embrace.
Don Pedro chuckled, "Beatrice, you have a merry heart!"
Beatrice confided, "It keeps sorrow apart!
Everyone in the world has a mate but I.
Good Lord, send me a husband, by and by.!"
The Prince interrupted with his own plea,
"I will get you one. How about me?"
"No, my lord, I was born to speak all mirth and jest."
Don Pedro laughed, "Being merry suits you best."