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Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  827 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
Twenty stories from Shakespeare retold in lively prose. The author makes the complex language of Shakespeare's greatest plays accessible to young children by relating the stories that form the core of the plays. Her graceful, vivid retellings are the perfect introduction to Shakespeare's works.
Paperback, 284 pages
Published April 18th 2006 by Yesterday's Classics (first published 1907)
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E Nesbit wrote these stories for younger readers at the turn of the century. There are 7 stories in the collection that are 4-8 pages long.

Romeo and Juliet
A Midsummer night's dream
Twelfth Night
The Tempest
Much Ado About Nothing

These get across the meat of the story, but I really miss Shakespeare's verse and voice. It is a quick way to be reminded of the amazing story. This would be a good introduction for anyone interested in the stories. E. Nesbit does use a few quotes from the original to
Cindy Rollins
Just finished reading this with my student over a couple year period. He drew posters or pictures of the characters and plot while I read. He loves Shakespeare and this book helped a lot along with my own love of Shakespeare :)

My student wants to read all the rest of the plays now!
Andreea Sorina
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every single page of this book was amazing!!! Brilliant!! :)))
Feb 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I expected to like this more. I appreciated having condensed stories to introduce my kids to Shakespeare. Some read well, others were quite confusing and felt very rushed.
Apr 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After a day of visiting Shakespeare's house E. Nesbit took great joy in telling her children all about The Bard. As they were looking over a book of his famous plays, the children quickly became disillusioned after reading a few pages. The children had a hard time understanding the words that Shakespeare used. So, in an effort to help the children understand, she told the story of A Midsummer's Night's Dream in her own words, After she had finished telling the tale, the children were delighted. ...more
Anne Lawson
This is not as good as the Lamb's Shakespeare, but for kids it is still a good introduction to Shakespeare - much better than some. I mean, it is Edith Nesbit after all! Still, some of the stories seemed too paraphrased and rushed. Wish she could have found a way to add a few more details and good original lines from the original.
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ao-1, ao-3, ao-4, morning-time
What a lovely book! Nesbit's retold stories are written well for reading aloud. This book was a great introduction to Shakespeare and we look forward to the original plays now that we are familiar with plots, The illustrations are perfectly delightful, each character depicted as a child.
Trish Bachman
Get acquainted with Shakespeare's beautiful stories in this easy to read/ easy to listen to book.
Carolyn Shields
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Excellent! The perfect way to introduce Shakespeare to children.
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book reminded me of how weird and delightful Shakespeare can be, but I was also amused to see how many tropes he uses. Namely:

- women disguised as men
- men disguised as women (and occasional donkeys)
- people falling in love with the disguised
- women loving complete and utter jackasses (in one case, literally)
- lots and lots of shipwrecks

I am a strong advocate of children's versions of classic tales. I absolutely loved reading "Classics Illustrated" - books and comics - growing up and I fee
Apr 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
In honor of April being the month of William Shakespeare's birth and death, I thought it was time to read some of his works. I haven't read much Shakespeare since H.S. English class so I thought that perhaps by reading abridged versions I would become familiar with the characters and plots and then more wisely choose which of his plays to tackle first.

This book by E. Nesbit was a charming abridgement of Shakespeare's plays that had the feel of an old fashioned storybook. This particular copy I r
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2014
As a simple, clean telling of the storyline, this works. But sometimes it's very awkward. What I gained from the book (which is definitely not intended for my age group) is an interest in further discovery of some of Shakespeare's plays. Probably that is its aim for children, and I would suggest children 8-11. Would I share it with children? I don't know....

Shakespeare's plots are complex. Nesbit strives to include the necessary parts, which sometimes makes the mere facts the only inclusion. It
Jan 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
E. Nesbit has written many children's books. The one I'm most familiar with is The Railway Children. I really like that book and it influenced my decision to purchase this book. In the introduction of Shakespeare's Stories for Young Children, E. Nesbit explains her reasons for writing this book. She explains that her children love Shakespeare's story lines but at the time were too young to enjoy the actual play. So she took some of Shakespeare's most famous plays and summarized them, making it e ...more
Dec 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stven by: E. Nesbit's name
Excellent retellings of several of Shakespeare's plays! If you're ever booked to go see Twelfth Night or Merchant of Venice and would like to have an idea what the story is about while you're watching it, read it here first.

Not to make this a rant about modern Shakespeare productions, but.... All too often the people putting on the play are so much more familiar with it than some of us poor sods out here in the audience that they forget: We don't know the story! And the Elizabethan language of S
bridget trinkaus
Apr 01, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to bridget by: amie doughty
Shelves: for-school
this was a brief introduction to shakespeare for children. some of the stories glossed certain plot lines over, perhaps e. nesbit did not think they were important. but i feel in shakespeare that the minor plot lines are just as important as the major ones (as we had discussed in class. my new favorite play is the winter's tale, and it was done wonderfully in this shortened form. this may have been the only story that i did not take issue with.
anika likes shakespeare--i have told her the jist o
Jennifer Lewis
Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a preparation to go see Shakespeare's First Folio, which is currently making its rounds to each state as a celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, I bought this book to introduce my daughters, ages 8 & 10, to the works of The Bard. My 10 year old adored it. I thought it was well done. E. Nesbit has an eloquent way of conveying the basic essence of the plays without the complications of complex language structures. My daughters were able to follow along rather well, to ...more
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To write the storyline behind a Shakespearean work without detracting from the beauty of the play is difficult. For example, how does one tell the already-cliched story of thwarted love (Romeo and Juliet) without sounding sentimental and schmaltzy? But E. Nesbit does, in simple language and a well-thought out structure to the storyline she plots out of the massive works of the Bard.

Beyond the storyline, she weaves in her views on the heros and heroines that meander in and out of Twelfth Night,
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Nesbit, E. Shakespeare Retold, 115 pgs. HarperCollins, 2016. $19.99 Content: PG.

This book is a collection of a few of Shakespeare’s more popular plays, such as Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, The Tempest, and Much Ado about Nothing. Each of these plays is retold in a story format with the main characters and plot lines.

Each story is 3-4 pages with one big picture at the beginning and two smaller pictures interspersed throughout the text. At the back
Aug 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, the title says it all. This is about a dozen or so of Shakespeare's plots outlines and simplified for children (probably ages 10 and over I would think). It was done by one of my favorite children's writers, E. Nesbit who has a wonderful way of relating to the little ones among us. Having read many of Shakespeare's plays (and at least aware of the plots of most of them) I still enjoyed the simple and enchanting was Mrs Nesbit relates these timeless stories. It was also a great way to keep ...more
Cynthia Egbert
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-and-read
When a writer, who is distilling down Shakespeare to the basic stories for children, begins her version of Macbeth with these words "When a person is asked to tell the story of Macbeth, he can tell two stories. One is of a man who came to the throne of Scotland by a crime in the year 1039, and reigned justly and well, on the whole, for fifteen years or more. This story is part of Scottish history. The other story issues from a place called Imagination; it is gloomy and wonderful, and you shall h ...more
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was nice to read through brief synopsis type breakdowns of Shakespeare's works. Some are hard to understand (unless you enjoy reading Olde English, and some of us still exist lol), so the simplicity of each story is indeed, easy enough for a child to understand - and offers a look into the stories for those adults who may struggle with Shakespeare in it's native form. While I will still read the original, I could easily give this version to my children to possibly awaken a desire to read the ...more
Matthew Hunter
We took our sweet time reading through these 10 retellings of Shakespeare's plays. The extended read time doesn't mean we found Nesbit's work lacking, however. Our kids loved the plays, especially Romeo & Juliet. Anyone who can make Shakespeare accessible to youngsters is tops in my book. Nesbit crafts the retellings so skillfully, I had no choice but to throw 5 stars at The Best of Shakespeare: Retellings of 10 Classic Plays.
Jun 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful introduction for children to the stories of Shakespeare. The language is still high, but not overwhelming like reading straight Shakespeare to a 9 year old. He loved it, by the way and got excited to hear the end to see if everyone died or everyone got married so he could say "Comedy!" or "Tragedy!". I found my copy at a library book sale, but the title is "Beautiful Stories of Shakespeare for Children". I don't know why they're not beautiful anymore.
Siddharth Chakravarthy
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
A wonderful compilation of Shakespeare's works narrated in a lucid manner.
What's more?! There are plenty illustrations an also a section containing a big bunch of handpicked beautiful quotes from the original version of these stories.

This book came as a blessing to me as I always wanted to read shakespeare's works but was discouraged by the complexity of his language.
This is a must read for people of all ages. :)
Jul 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Edith Nesbitt (Railway Children fame) was a favorite author of J.K. Rowling. (Ironically, Nesbitt was never popular in America because some of her fantasy books were perceived as promoting witchcraft) She first wrote this around 1900. She had told her children of the wonders of Shakespeare, and when she read it to them they were less than thrilled. She decided to write her own version for her children. She did William proud.
Dayna Smith
Twenty of Shakespeare's plays re-shaped to be easily understood by children. A great introduction to the plays of the Bard for younger readers. A fantastic book to use for bedtime stories. The illustrations are gorgeous, with all the characters portrayed as children. A masterful classic work every parent should own and read to their children.
Andria Harriman
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
I read this to Audrey on our way to Shakespeare's birthplace and found it was a really good introduction to some of his more popular and entertaining plays. I liked that it didn't sugar coat the plot (romeo and Juliet still kill themselves) but it wasnt graphic and did make the stories easier for kids (and grownups!) to understand.
Lisa McMillon
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a fun children's book that adult reader's will also enjoy because it allows you to become more familiar with the story plot of Shakespheare's plays. Reading Shakesphere's work can be challenging...this book has some of Shakesphere's original sentence structure woven in with standard english making easier to read.
Daniel Sadicario
Oct 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A perfect introduction to the Bard, at least for those under about eight. The stories are short enough and language accessible enough for a five year old (the stories read like regular mythology), while still wading in the artful poetry of Shakespeare and themes of each play. In other words, my antsy boys (five and seven) enjoy it.
Jan 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are puzzled while reading some of Shakespear's writing
This is so great! I've always wondered what the true story of "Romeo and Juliet" was. Finally I have something to read that I understand without all the big vocabulary, like 'misgrafed', 'vantage', and 'belike'....and so on and so forth. Finally I can read this great writer's stories without opening a dictonary once! Thank you Mr. Nesbit! Thank you very, very much!
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Edith Nesbit (married name Edith Bland; 15 August 1858 – 4 May 1924) was an English author and poet; she published her books for children under the name of E. Nesbit.
She wrote or collaborated on over 60 books of fiction for children, several of which have been adapted for film and television. She was also a political activist and co-founded the Fabian Society, a socialist organisation later connec
More about E. Nesbit...