The Merchant of Venice













Title: The Merchant of Venice

Author: William Shakespeare

Publisher: Simon and Schuster/Penguin

Number of pages: 238/240

Type of Book: Classic, Fiction

Age: 8+

Buy it here: ;;;

free download here (unabridged version for older readers):

Price: N1440; $3:87;  $5:00


This story features two friends Bassanio and Antonio who borrow money from a shrewd Jewish moneylender called Shylock. Bassanio is the happy-go-lucky kind, he has fallen in love with an heiress, Portia and needs the money to woo her. Antonio is a wealthy Venetian Christian merchant with a healthy dislike for Jews. His ships however are at sea so he is forced to borrow money from a Jew to fund Bassanio’s trip. The friends promise Shylock a pound of Antonio’s flesh if the debt is unpaid by the date set by Shylock! Things go wrong when Bassonio, after successfully wooing Portia hears that Antonio’s ships were lost at sea and Shylock, having lost his daughter to a Christian and knowing of Antonio’s dislike for Jews wanted his pound of flesh. Read the book to find out how the friends escape Shylock’s clutches, if they do.


UP: I loved this book as a child! Once upon a time, it was my favourite book in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD! And if, like me, you were born in the 80s, then you read ‘Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare!’ J I recommend for everyone, old and young alike. Do you want to know much I loved it? Look at TRIVIA No. 6.

DOWN: As with all Shakespeare’s books, the unabridged version might be a bit much for children.


5 Stars


  1. How much did Bassanio and Antonio borrow from Shylock? 3000 gold coins (ducats)
  2. What happens to Shylock’s daughter Jessica? She steals a lot of money from her father and runs away from home with Lorenzo, a Christian.
  3. How does Portia’s father choose a husband for her? He sets up a test with three caskets. Whomever chooses the right casket wins her hand in marriage.
  4. What happens when a suitor fails the test? Not only will he not win Portia’s hand in marriage but he will not be able to marry anyone else for the rest of his life!
  5. Who is the young brilliant lawyer, Balthazar who defends Antonio in court? Portia, dressed as a man.
  6. I have 5 names and I got one of them (at age 10) from this book. What is that name? Nerissa

Visit William Shakespeare here: 

CHALLENGE: The Merchant of Venice


  1. Write a 600-word essay on contemporary moneylenders (8 – 9 year olds)


  1. Write a 600-word essay on contemporary moneylenders AND Read the summary and write your own ending for this story. (600 words) (10-12 year olds)

Send your answers to

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 8-12 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Sunday, May 8th 2016.

Next Book of the Week:

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW by William Shakespeare




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