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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.

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?

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

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 exposure

A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy written by William Shakespeare c. 1595 or 1596. The play takes place in Athens and consists of several subplots that revolve around the marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta. One subplot involves a conflict between four Athenian lovers.

A Midsummer Night's Dream Book

Although you may have seen the play or a screenplay of this book it will not do it justice. This is a wonderful fantasy. It makes the reader wonder if Shakespeare hadn't been into the cups or some Amanita muscaria. Brush up on your English.

My eight year old loved this book and was able to read it on his own.

When I read this to a 5 year old and 7 year old, I wondered if it would be too weird to them, but they loved it so much they've begged me to read it again and again. If you really ham it up on the page about Bottom rehearsing for the play, they crack up laughing! The silliness of this Shakespeare pl

Not only beautifully illustrated, this retelling of Shakespeare's play is clear enough for my 4 year old to understand and enjoy. The writing is elegant, but not babyish, and the main plot points are all present. My daughter could read and get new things out of it for years.

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 11/8/

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

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