Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Scholastic Fest: #19, Selected Stories from The Enchanted Island

  • Title: Selected Stories from The Enchanted Island
  • Author: Ian Serraillier (1912-1994)
  • Illustrator: Peter Farmer
  • Publisher: Scholastic Book Services
  • Year: Third printing, February 1971
  • Excerpt:
    "Suddenly a window opened and Puck leaped in, a birch-broom in his hand. Smiling and chuckling, he began to sweep the floor. When all the dust was gone, Oberon and Titania and the fairies trooped in, the moonlight glimmering on their wings. They filled the hall with their song and gentle laughter, as the huntsmen had filled the woods with the ring of the horn and the thunder of hooves when Theseus and his court went hunting."
  • Notes: This is, as the title suggests, an abridgement of Serraillier's 1964 book The Enchanted Island. The book features prose retellings of some of William Shakespeare's most famous plays, in language that can be understood by schoolchildren. ... Selected Stories from The Enchanted Island includes versions of The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, King Lear and three other plays. ... One Goodreads reviewer wrote: "I personally owe a lot of my initial grasp and understanding of many of Shakespeare's plays to Serraillier's The Enchanted Island, and I have no doubt that many others do as well. I definitely do recommend this book for all those parents who wish to start engaging their children to literature at an early age. You will not believe that what you are reading is a Shakespeare play, as its language and themes are adapted accordingly." ... British novelist and Quaker Serraillier also retold Greek and Roman legends in modern language. He is perhaps best known for 1956's The Silver Sword, which was based on a true, published in the United States under the Scholastic Book Services title Escape from Warsaw, and adapted into a BBC miniseries.

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