Swedish children’s author Barbro Lindgren and illustrator Anna Höglund bring us a wonderfully funny retelling of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet in their Look Hamlet. Reminiscent of the children’s books we read to our youngsters, this dark version condenses the classic tale of angst-ridden revenge and murder into roughly fourteen pages of concise text and the same number of dark and moody illustrations.
Lindgren somehow manages to capture all of the high points of Shakespeare’s tale, from the adulterous marriage of his mother and his murderous stepfather to the appearance of his father’s ghost to the bitter scene of mass murder at the end of the play, with a minimum of dialogue. Illustrator Anna Höglund gives us an anthropomorphic rendition of the players which seems to make them even more human than any version I have ever seen on stage. Hamlet, as a deeply depressed rabbit. tugs at the heartstrings more than Gielgud ever could and Claudius as a wicked rat seems vastly appropriate casting.
This is clearly a lighthearted retelling for adults and not a children’s picture book and I cannot wait to read it to my students next semester when we are studying Hamlet. I am sure after making them sit through the breathtaking four-hour Branagh version, this will be a very welcome break. This would make a wonderful gift for any Shakespeare fan in your life.
|Page Count||32 pages|
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