Monday, March 04, 2013

The Bite-sized Bard Presents Shakespeare's Seasons created by Miriam Weiner and illustrated by Shannon Whitt

"Thus sometimes hath
               the brightest day a cloud;

And after summer evermore succeeds
Barren winter,
              with his wrathful nipping cold;

So cares and joys about,
              as seasons fleet."

            HENRY VI PART 2 II.iv.1-4

In The Bite-sized Bard Presents Shakespeare’s Seasons, edited by Miriam Weiner and Shannon Whitt, perfectly chosen bits of William Shakespeare’s work have been illustrated beautifully with Shannon Whitt's cut and paste art.  Each season is eloquently described with excerpts from Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets.  This is a stunning book - a feast for the eyes and the ears.

The detailed artwork is bright and colorful without being glaring.  Text alternates between simple fonts and flowing script which enhances the images of blowing wind, leaves, and rose petals.  Especially appealing are the tiny leaves, flower petals and textures of the earthy subjects.

In this format Shakespeare’s lyrical language is accessible to all.  Even young children can be mesmerized by the sing-song melody while exploring the great outdoors.  It may even inspire older readers to pick up a book of sonnets to see what all the Shakespeare fuss is about.

Copies of this work can be found in the Picture Book area at several of our Virginia Beach Public Libraries.  If you'd like to read more poetry for children in picture book format, you may also want to check-out The Year Comes Round : Haiku Through the Seasons by Sid Farrar or Seeds, Bees, Butterflies, and More! : Poems for Two Voices by Carole Gerber.  If you like the artwork, Lois Ehlert's picture books are also filled with bright paint and collages of cats, birds, gardens, and other subjects that young children would find appealing.

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