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Shakespeare Can Be Fun! is a very fun series for kids.

Shakespeare for children?  Anon! (“Anon,” is often used by Shakespeare to mean “in short a short time, soon.”  )  In one of my ambitious moments, I thought it would be great fun to read scenes from Romeo and Juliet out loud with my kids.  Hysterics ensued every time the word “anon” appeared, followed by  “What the heck is anon, anyway?” We got through one scene before my patience wore thin.  My poor kids, it’s not their fault. Our copy of Romeo and Juliet was printed in microscopic font with few illustrations, not to mention the demands of the language.  Wouldn’t it be great if there were an adapted version of Shakespeare that would appeal to kids while still paying homage to the beauty of the original text?   Soon after (anon!) my wish was granted when I discovered Shakespeare Can Be Fun! by Lois Burdett.


Burdett is an elementary teacher who has passionately engaged grades 2 and 3 students in discovering Shakespeare for over 20 years.  Written all in couplets,  Burdett incorporates segments from the original text into her modern rhymes.  We read Romeo and Juliet, which is the fifth book in this series.

My kids understood and throughly enjoyed the plot.  What really puts the FUN into Shakespeare Can Be Fun! are the authentic drawings and written additions from the second and third graders. Imagined diary entries from Juliet and other characters are not only hilarious, but only demonstrate how deeply these young students related to the text.


In case you had any doubt that reading Shakespeare leads to growth in vocabulary,  comprehension, and reading skills, the passages written by grade 2 and 3 students are impressive.


Burdett is not only an inspiration to teachers and parents, but is also a talented writer.  My kids and I will definitely be reading the rest of the series.

So, get thee to a library, bookstore, or internet…and quick! :)

AGES 7 and up


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