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Monday, 31 January 2011

MG Monday: Review: Manga Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Title: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Series: Manga Shakespeare
Author: William Shakespeare; Kate Brown; Richard Appignanesi
Publisher: Amulet Books: Imprint of ABRAMS
Publication Date: 2 Feb 2008

Source: Publisher - Thank You

Shakespeare's enduring characters are set adrift in present-day Athens, but a present with a massive difference - an alternative history. Rigid class systems and `god given' monarchies of the past have not been lost. Modern technologies meet ancient tradition; and the citizens of Athens are frustrated by continuing restrictions and hierarchies. Only the forest, home to the fairies and fey spirits can offer the illicit lovers what they seek.

Let me start by saying I am not going to review the story of A Midsummer Night's Dream only the Manga take on the play.

I really wanted to see how these Manga books would relate in the Secondary school library, especially with the current trend for Manga.

Although the language remains the same as the original play it does make it easier to follow without the stage directions and with the illustrations of the specific person speaking.

The book starts with an introduction to each character along with a brief sentence as to their relationship with the other characters. Something that pupils can refer back to if they get confused as to who is with who etc.

The illustrations are beautiful and really add to the imagery portrayed within the dialogue. The way in which the characters were drawn is remarkably like the way I had pictured them within my imagination.

Really easy to follow and understand. My only 'complaint' which isn't really a complaint is that only the first few pages are in colour the rest are in black and white, I like colour but I think that it may increase the cost of production and therefore the cost to purchase.

I have shown the book to the English Department who are going to buy a set for the library. A great resource to run alongside the traditional text in the classroom and I think making Shakespeare more accessible to pupils.

Bringing Shakespeare to a whole new generation to fully appreciate cannot be a bad thing.

UPDATE: Since writing my review and taking the book into the library; to my great surprise and pleasure Year 12/13 students have been using it while working on their coursework [ : D ] I am one very happy Librarian.


  1. It is a great series, and really useful for SEN students who struggle with the language and at least can understand the story better through the artwork. Another great set of books which are really good to help students understand what is going on in Shakespeare's plays is Marcia Williams's "Mr William Shakespeare's Plays" and "Bravo Mr Shakespeare". They would be in my top 50 of books to have in a school library!

  2. A Midsummer Night's Dream is my favourite Shakespeare play. I can definitely see this making it easier for pupils to follow the story.
    I think I might have to get a copy of this for myself :)

  3. I didn't know that they had created Manga books for Shakespeare's plays.What a fabulous idea. Much easier for kids to access when studying the plays.

  4. Library Mice - thanks for the tips I will look into them :D

    Kat - it is worth it :D

    Viv - It makes it far more accessible :D


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