Twelfth Night for Kids: Shakespeare Can Be Fun!


40 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-88753-233-0
DDC j822.3





Reviewed by Ray Doiron

Ray Doiron is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education at the
University of Prince Edward Island and the Preschool to Grade 6
nonfiction reviews co-ordinator at Resource Links.


As an elementary teacher, Lois Burdett involves her Grade 2 students in
the reading and performing of Shakespearean plays, and the writing of
stories, poems, biographies, and story-retellings based on their
reading. It is her belief that “Shakespeare can be meaningful and fun
for children of all ages.” This book is testimony of the ability of
these young students to enjoy Shakespeare and to produce high-quality
writing themselves. It is also a resource to be used in a “literature
approach” to teaching reading and writing.

Twelfth Night for Kids is the retelling of Shakespeare’s play in
rhyming couplets by Burdett’s students. It is full of rich language,
humorous phrases, and delightful expressions. The story begins, “I
have a story from long ago; / I’ll tell it to you now blow by blow. /
There are quite a few people so you’ll have to keep track, / But
we’ll sort them out, you just sit back ...” The book demonstrates
how deeply these young people were able to get involved with
Shakespeare’s characters and his great gift for language. The text is
supported with the children’s artwork, which is authentic to
Elizabethan costume and consistent with the story being told. One
particularly enjoyable part of the book is the inclusion of several
reading responses at various points in the story; in one instance,
students wrote journal entries in Viola’s diary by taking on her
persona and writing as if they were Viola.

Elementary teachers who use a whole-language philosophy for developing
literacy will find this series not only a useful resource to read and
share with their students, but also a valuable model for developing
their own reading and writing projects with students. Young people will
enjoy reading the work of other students their age and will be
encouraged to create quality work like this. Recommended.


Burdett, Lois, and Christine Coburn., “Twelfth Night for Kids: Shakespeare Can Be Fun!,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,