Title: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Author: William Shakespeare
Publisher: Usborne Publishing
Number of pages: 64
Type of Book: Fiction, Classic, Play
Age: 4 – 8
Buy it here: http://product.chelisbookazine.com/product/a-midsummer-nights-dream-young-reading-series-2/; https://www.amazon.co.uk/Midsummer-Nights-Dream-Usborne-readers/dp/0746063334/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1464543391&sr=1-2&keywords=a+midsummer+nights+dream+usborne; Free Download here: http://shakespeare.mit.edu/midsummer/full.html
Price: N580; 4.99GBP
This play has four interconnecting plots/stories.
- The Duke of Athens, Theseus is about to marry the Amazon Queen, Hippolyta whom he has just conquered in battle. He orders four days of festivities to celebrate his impending marriage.
- Hermia, daughter of Egeus, an Athenian, refuses to marry Demetrius (against her father’s wishes) because she loves Lysander. Egeus asks the Duke to sentence her to death, based on an ancient Athenian law that requires a daughter to marry a suitor approved by her father or face death. Meanwhile, Helena, Hermia’s friend loves Demetrius. So basically, Helena loves Demetrius who loves Hermia who loves Lysander (Yes, Shakespeare has a thing for love triangles, rectangles and all)
- Oberon, the King of Fairies wants to take his wife Titania’s ward as a page but Titania refuses. Angry, he puts a magic potion (juice from a flower) on her eyes to make her fall in love with the first creature she sees when she wakes up. His plan: watch her fall in love with an animal in the forest and then shame her into giving him the young boy.
- A group of actors, the Mechanicals, is contracted to perform a play during the Duke’s wedding however, they do not know the first thing about acting so they retire to the forest to practice.
The play is set in the enchanted forest. After the Duke Theseus rules that Hermia must marry Demetrius, face death or become a nun, she decides to elope with Lysander and they find their way to the enchanted forest. Helena learns of this plan and tells Demetrius who gives chase. Helena in turn runs after Demetrius. Oberon spies Helena running after Demetrius and feeling pity for her decides to give Demetrius the magic juice from the flower to make him fall in love with Helena. He enlists the help of Puck a mischievous fairy who mistakenly puts the juice on Lysander’s eyes. Lysander wakes up to see Helena and promptly falls in love with her. An enraged Oberon attempts to correct Puck’s mistake, so the juice is administered on Demetrius who also falls in love with Helena. Of course chaos erupts as suddenly both men who entered the forest loving Hermia now love Helena. Meanwhile, the same mischievous Puck, turns the head of one of the Mechanicals, Bottom, into a donkey’s head causing his fellow actors to abandon him. Queen Titania, wakes up after the juice has been spread over her eyes and falls in love with Bottom. J
Read the story to find out how all fours stories/plots were resolved.
THUMBS UP AND DOWN
UP: Humour! Puck, the mischievous, was the major highlight. He made this book fun and made me laugh out loud a couple of times. Watch out especially for the part where Queen Titania wakes up and starts professing undying love to Bottom, the donkey-headed man! I loved this story a lot as a child (even though it took a while for me to GET it!) This book however, is much better than the one I read as a child. It is easy to read and not as long.
DOWN: It may be a tad confusing for 4-6 year olds because of the interconnecting plots plus the fact that the play seems to be riddled with characters.
- This play is one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays
HAVE FUN WITH THIS BOOK
- Read the story here (the original version): http://shakespeare.mit.edu/midsummer/full.html
- Visit William Shakespeare here: http://www.shakespeare-online.com
CHALLENGE: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)
1. Read the information above, then answer the following questions (6-8 year olds)
- This little person caused a lot of trouble in this story?
- Is there a play-within-a play in this story?
- Who is Oberon?
2. Draw and colour a man with a donkey’s head (4-5 year olds)
Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org
Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 4 – 8 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 Thursday, June 2nd 2015.
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MY NIGERIA: People, Places and Culture by Constance Omowumi Kola-Lawal