cover image Bard of Avon: The Story of William Shakespeare

Bard of Avon: The Story of William Shakespeare

Diane Stanley. HarperCollins, $16.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-688-09108-8

In this compact, informative biography, Stanley and Vennema return to the 16th-century England they portrayed so deftly in Good Queen Bess: The Story of Elizabeth of England . These seasoned raconteurs have sorted out historical facts, speculation and conjecture to neatly piece together the puzzle of Shakespeare's life. Their conversational narrative, aided by Stanley's typically stunning, intricate period paintings, recount the Bard's early years in Stratford-on-Avon, where he was introduced to drama through the performances of traveling troupes; his years in London, working first as an actor and then as a playwright who wrote quickly and rarely revised his work; the changes in England's political climate--and in Shakespeare's own life--that led him to forsake comedies and pen his magnificent tragedies; and final years in Stratford, living as a country gentleman. A postscript discussing some of the words and phrases Shakespeare created (such as ``hurry,'' ``leapfrog,'' ``tongue-tied,'' ``laughingstock'') underscores his indelible, ongoing legacy, which Stanley and Vennema perpetuate most gracefully. Ages 7-up. (Aug.)