Cover image for The tempest for kids
The tempest for kids

Shakespeare can be fun!
The tempest for kids
Personal Author:
Publisher Info:
Buffalo, NY : Firefly Books, c1999.
Physical Description:
64 p. : col. ill. ; 23 cm.
Shakespeare can be fun!
An abridged version of Shakespeare's original text, with suggestions for simple staging. Includes parenthetical explanations and descriptions within the text and announcers who summarize deleted passages.


Call Number
Material Type
J 822.33 BURD Book Juvenile Nonfiction

On Order



The Tempest is an exciting tale of jealousy and betrayal, magic and romance, repentance and forgiveness, and has all the elements necessary to ignite a young child's imagination and creative energy. By her use of rhyming couplets, Lois Burdett has once again succeeded in transforming Shakespeare's complex verse into a format readily understood by children.

Children's enthusiasm toward Burdett's adapted Shakespeare is evident in the wonderful drawings and anecdotes created by her Grade 2 and 3 students at Hamlet Elementary School in Stratford, Ontario. Together with the five other books in the successful and beautifully produced Shakespeare Can Be Fun! series, The Tempest will delight teachers, parents and children.

Author Notes

William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616 Although there are many myths and mysteries surrounding William Shakespeare, a great deal is actually known about his life. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, son of John Shakespeare, a prosperous merchant and local politician and Mary Arden, who had the wealth to send their oldest son to Stratford Grammar School.

At 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the 27-year-old daughter of a local farmer, and they had their first daughter six months later. He probably developed an interest in theatre by watching plays performed by traveling players in Stratford while still in his youth. Some time before 1592, he left his family to take up residence in London, where he began acting and writing plays and poetry.

By 1594 Shakespeare had become a member and part owner of an acting company called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, where he soon became the company's principal playwright. His plays enjoyed great popularity and high critical acclaim in the newly built Globe Theatre. It was through his popularity that the troupe gained the attention of the new king, James I, who appointed them the King's Players in 1603. Before retiring to Stratford in 1613, after the Globe burned down, he wrote more than three dozen plays (that we are sure of) and more than 150 sonnets. He was celebrated by Ben Jonson, one of the leading playwrights of the day, as a writer who would be "not for an age, but for all time," a prediction that has proved to be true.

Today, Shakespeare towers over all other English writers and has few rivals in any language. His genius and creativity continue to astound scholars, and his plays continue to delight audiences. Many have served as the basis for operas, ballets, musical compositions, and films. While Jonson and other writers labored over their plays, Shakespeare seems to have had the ability to turn out work of exceptionally high caliber at an amazing speed. At the height of his career, he wrote an average of two plays a year as well as dozens of poems, songs, and possibly even verses for tombstones and heraldic shields, all while he continued to act in the plays performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. This staggering output is even more impressive when one considers its variety. Except for the English history plays, he never wrote the same kind of play twice. He seems to have had a good deal of fun in trying his hand at every kind of play.

Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all published on 1609, most of which were dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothsley, The Earl of Southhampton. He also wrote 13 comedies, 13 histories, 6 tragedies, and 4 tragecomedies. He died at Stratford-upon-Avon April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. His cause of death was unknown, but it is surmised that he knew he was dying.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4-Sticking closely to the series format, Burdett retells the story of The Tempest in rhyming couplets. Her students' drawings filled in with clear bright marker colors, along with the children's boxed comments, provide the book's primary appeal. The main text is distinctly plodding-especially when compared with the original. While it's true that the simple couplets might be easy for an adult to understand at first glance, they are not exactly a breeze for early readers, the audience for this book. It would require almost as much effort to use this text for a performance (as suggested) as it would to perform scenes from the original work or to have children create their own improvisations on the story. Burdett's techniques for exciting children about Shakespeare certainly seem to work well with her own classes. It seems sad that other youngsters might be handed a finished product rather than the fun of creating their own interpretations. The final page contains suggestions for parents and teachers.-Sally Margolis, Barton Public Library, VT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



"Admired Miranda! You are different from the rest. So perfect and so peerless. Of all women, you're the best. The instant I saw you, it was like a tidal wave, My heart flew to your service, and I became your slave." "I am your wife," she promised, "if you will marry me." Ferdinand fell upon his knees, "And I thus humble be." Now all this while the lovers thought they were alone, Little did they know they had a chaperon. Prospero stood watching this tender scene unfold. To him their love was precious as the finest, rarest gold. "It is a joyous day! This union must be blessed." His heart was satisfied, for they both had passed the test. Excerpted from The Tempest for Kids by William Shakespeare, Lois Burdett All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.