Avi has written children's books in just about every category that exists. This is his take on a Shakespeare play.
The plot of this very basic chapter book is a mirror plot. In order to get two shy students who like each other to talk to each other, a third student decides to stage a production of Romeo and Juliet.
I have mixed feelings about this book. The characters are fairly interesting and vivacious, and the book has something of a Shakespeare idea motivating it. But it's also flawed. It's set among eighth graders, but the reading level is nearer the second grade level; that involves a discrepancy between the characters' and their experiences and the lack of a mature language to express or describe it.
The use of Shakespeare is puzzling. Let me give you an example or two.
From page 93.
From page 113.
I get that—I understand where the humor of that comes from. Saying "Parting is such sweet and sour that tomorrow I shall say good night till it be sorry" is pretty funny. And so are "Lemon table day" and "I lack a day"—but I don't know that second-grade readers will find those terribly amusing unless they know where the words have gone wrong. And the book doesn't help along those lines. If it provided the correct versions of the Shakespeare quotes at some earlier point, it would work fairly well; as it is, it falls fairly flat.
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