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A Midsummer Night's Dream

William Shakespeare

Book Overview: 

Magic, fairies, young lovers chasing each other through a forest, a man with a donkey’s head, and impish Puck wreaking havoc right and left. What’s going on here? It’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare at his most fanciful.

The play opens with Theseus, Duke of Athens, preparing for his wedding. Egeus complains to Theseus that his daughter Hermia refuses to marry Demetrius. When Hermia is given the choice between marriage to Demetrius or life as a nun, she and her true love Lysander flee into the forest. Demetrius follows them; and Helena, who loves Demetrius, follows him.

Also in the forest are Oberon and Titania, king and queen of the fairies, at odds with one another. At Oberon’s behest, Puck causes Demetrius to fall in love with Helena — oops, he missed, that was Lysander instead. Mayhem ensues.

In the meantime, a group of bumbling craftsmen rehearses a play. Puck gives one of them, Bottom, the head of an ass and makes Titania fall in love with him. Further hilarity results as Bottom sees nothing at all odd about this. Eventually everything is straightened out, Bottom and the rest “perform” their play, there is a triple wedding, and Puck assures us the whole thing has been a dream.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Then I must be thy lady; but I know
When thou hast stol'n away from fairy-land,
And in the shape of Corin sat all day,
Playing on pipes of corn, and versing love
To amorous Phillida. Why art thou here,
Come from the farthest steep of India,
But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon,
Your buskin'd mistress and your warrior love,
To Theseus must be wedded; and you come
To give their bed joy and prosperity.

OBERON
How canst thou thus, for shame, Titania,
Glance at my credit with Hippolyta,
Knowing I know thy love to Theseus?
Didst not thou lead him through the glimmering night
From Perigenia, whom he ravish'd?
And make him with fair Aegle break his faith,
With Ariadne and Antiopa?

TITANIA
These are the forgeries of jealousy:
And never, since the middle summer's spring,
Met we on hill, in dale, forest, or mead,
By pavèd fountain, or by rushy brook,
Or on the b. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I have been a fan of Mr Shakespeare for quite a while now. So when I wondered across this cute little picture book in my local library, I knew I needed to give it a go.
I have heard many great opinions on A Midsummer Night's Dream, and although I haven't read the original, I have read a couple of...more

Why didn't I ever read this before? My sister is in love with William Shakespeare and raves about his writing. She will have your high school students read the books constantly. I love the story. It was cute and devilish. It also was easy to follow. Easy read and fun!

I know that there is a whole slew of people who object to reading adaptations and abridged versions of classics. And for a mature audience, I'm against abridged versions too..... but I've chosen to use adaptations, re-tellings and abridged versions of certain classics with my son as a first expos...more

I just bought this for my mom. She doesn't know the story of the play and wants to, as my nephew was recently cast in a kid's version of the play as Oberon. Of course, I had to read it first before bringing it to her.

A complicated plot is told here in a clear fashion; very nice illustrations too....more

A lovely illustrated introduction to the original play. Joy and beautifully illustrated!!

Fantastic retelling of Shakespeare play! Great illustrations that help kids (and parents) keep the characters straight. Perfect book to introduce Shakespeare to children and getting them ready for reading the true play in his words. I would love to own a copy of this book it was that good..krb 11...more

GREAT!!! Illustrations could have been better, but the story is well told and my 8 year old laughed and laughed. I'm surprised how well she followed the plot.

...And the illustrations are lush and gorgeous!

Nice pictures, but I feel slightly morally opposed to a retelling of Shakespeare.

As a child, I remember reading children's versions of Homer's Odyssey. In college, I read the real thing and I can remember not just the joy of reading the stories again, but how easy it was to comprehend the text. So I am a big fan of reading adaptations to my children, especially when they enjo...more

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