Will’s Words by Jane Sutcliffe and John Shelley

A casual weaving together of Will’s words with our own shows just how much we owe to the bard in this cleverly illustrated picture book.

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Will’s Words: How William Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk by Jane Sutcliffe and illustrated by John Shelley. Charlesbridge, 2016. 40 pages.

Reading Level: Picture books, ages 8-10

Recommended For: Anyone studying Shakespeare, but especially ages 6-10

Have you ever said, “for goodness’ sake”? What about “too much of a good thing” or “your money’s worth” or “the green-eyed monster” or…? Turns out, we owe a lot of our “household words” to Mr. William Shakespeare! Cleverly using Will’s words to help tell her story about William Shakespeare, author Jane Sutcliffe gives a wonderful overview of the playwright, the life and times in which he lived, and the theater scene during the Globe’s heyday.

Cartoon-style illustrations are detailed and provide a perfect setting for Sutcliffe’s casual text. Plenty of details to explore crop up in addition to Sutcliffe’s text about Shakespeare; for instance, there’s a printing press, a home under construction, horse drawn wagons, and plenty of period dress to notice. Young readers will enjoy pouring over the pictures while older readers will marvel at just how many things they say that were originally Will’s words. Text boxes highlight what the word or phrase meant in Shakespeare’s day as well as which play the words originally appeared in. Timeline and bibliography round out the book. This is a fun complement to a study of any of Shakespeare’s plays.

Cautions: none

Overall Rating: 4

Worldview Rating: 4

Artistic Rating: 4

We’ve written about Shakespeare a lot on Redeemed Reader! For more Shakespeare related resources, check out Megan’s list of Shakespeare resources for kids, my musings over finding Christ in Othello, or Megan’s tips on introducing Shakespeare’s work to young children

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Betsy Farquhar

Betsy is the Managing Editor at Redeemed Reader. When she reads ahead for you, she uses sticky notes instead of book darts and willfully dog ears pages even in library books. Betsy is a fan of George MacDonald, robust book discussions, and the Oxford comma. She lives with her husband and their three children in the beautiful Southeast.

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