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of the Center for Children's Books

The Bulletin Dozen is a monthly theme-based booklist available as an online-only Bulletin feature. Since we're awfully fond of bakers here at the Bulletin, we thought we'd adopt their philosophy of generosity and throw in an extra one or two when we have them to offer--so don't expect an even dozen. Please feel free to copy, download, or link to these lists. We ask only that you cite the source. See the archive for lists from previous months.

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A Rose By Any Other Name:
A Shakespearean Dozen

Sure, Shakespeare’s works have obviously stood the test of time, but these adaptations offer a fresh look at some of old Will’s classics, breathing new life into well-worn characters. This month’s dozens is for both the reader who finds Elizabethan language just a bit too daunting and for those who simply can’t get enough of the bard.

--Kate Quealy-Gainer, Assistant Editor
Dozens Cover
Cannon, A.E. The Loser’s Guide to Life and Love. HarperTeen, 2008. Gr. 6-9
A Midsummer’s Night Dream serves as the inspiration to this playful rom-com that follows the amorous exploits (or more often, the lack thereof) of video clerk Ed and his newly established alter ego, Sergio. (BCCB 9/08)

Cooney, Caroline. Enter Three Witches: A Story of Macbeth. Scholastic, 2007. Gr. 7-12
Cooney offers a more gender equitable take on a Shakespeare classic when she tells the tale of Macbeth from the point of view of fourteen-year-old Mary, the orphan ward of Lord and Lady Macbeth. (BCCB 5/07)

Jay, Stacey. Juliet Immortal. Delacorte, 2011. Gr. 9-12
The truth behinds Shakespeare’s most famous star-crossed lovers is a bit more twisted in this revision that pits the angelic Juliet against the devilish Romeo. (BCCB 10/11)

Gratz, Alan. Something Rotten: A Horatio Wilkes Mystery. Dial, 2007. Gr. 7-12
The sudden death of Hamilton Prince’s wealthy father seems more than a little suspicious and the titular Horatio is on the case in this wonderfully witty and thoroughly modern take on Hamlet. (BCCB 11/07)

Klein, Lisa. Lady Macbeth’s Daughter. Bloomsbury, 2009. Gr. 7-10
Alternately narrated by Lady Macbeth and Albia, Macbeth’s banished daughter, this richly nuanced tale examines the entanglement of family loyalty, madness, and identity in a thrilling and accessible manner that will have teens taking a second look at the original. (BCCB 1/10)

Klein, Lisa. Ophelia. Bloomsbury, 2007.
Darkly atmospheric, this retelling of Hamlet focus on the tragedy’s other major player, Ophelia, offering up a picture of a smart, willful young women whose “madness” is only one side of the story. (Not reviewed by the Bulletin)

Myers, Walter Dean. Street Love. Amistad, 2006. Gr. 7-10
Free verse and rap beats replace iambic pentameter while basketball star Damien and put-upon Junice take the roles of Romeo and Juliet in this urban update of Shakespeare’s well-known tragedy. (BCCB 1/07)

Peet, Mal. Exposure. Candlewick, 2009. Gr. 10-12
This dramatic novel uses Othello as a template but brings it to contemporary South America, where soccer star Otello falls for pop singer Desmerelda, unaware that he’s being manipulated into disaster by his Machiavellian agent. (BCCB 2/10)

Pressler, Mirjam. Shylock’s Daughter. Fogelman Books, 2001. Gr. 7-10
Although the major events of The Merchant of Venice occur offstage here, this complex, nuanced story examines both the family dynamics and ghetto culture that leads to Shylock’s trial and the regrets of both parties that follow suit. (BCCB 7/01)

Rees, Celia. The Fool’s Girl. Bloomsbury, 2010.
Shakespeare himself makes an appearance in this sequel to and supposed inspiration for his Twelfth Night that centers on the adventures of Violetta, the daughter of the original play’s Viola and Duke Orsin. (Not reviewed by the Bulletin)

Sutherland, Tui T. This Must Be Love. HarperCollins, 2007. Gr. 7-10
All’s well that ends well in this entertaining comedy of errors that follows the love lives of four teenagers and features one hilarious all male production of Romeo and Juliet. [BCCB 1/05]

Tiffany, Grace. Ariel. HarperCollins, 2005. Gr. 7-12
Elegant prose and thoughtful dialogue mark this revision of The Tempest that begins years before Shakespeare’s play when the sprite Ariel is born of a sailor’s hallucinations and abandoned on an island, setting the stage for the bard’s tragic drama. (BCCB 10/05)

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This page was last updated on November 1, 2011.