Flibbertigibbety Words: Young Shakespeare Chases Inspiration

Donna Guthrie, illus. by Åsa Gilland. Page Street Kids, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-64567-062-9
This story by Guthrie begins as William, a child in Elizabethan England, spies a string of curlicued hand-lettered words in the sky outside his window: “This above all: to thine own self be true.” More drift into the house, and young William longs to corral them. He chases the banner of fleeting, continually shifting phrases (“Boldness be my friend!”) out into the streets and to the sea, encountering strangers who want the words themselves. At last, a kindly peddler offers pen and paper and comfort: “Words will come again to a boy like you,” he promises. Artwork by Gilland features retro-style figures in sprightly motion against backdrops of half-timbered houses and cobbled streets. Though the book’s concept seems murky in places (will the famous lines, removed from their context, mean anything to young readers?)—the final descriptions of paper and pen as tools for capturing words, and writing as an act of “coaxing” them onto the page, will stay with aspiring writers. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 10/15/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Children's
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