Sandra Dodd

Holly is temporarily elsewhere, and called me to look at a joke on the facebook page of The Reduced Shakespeare Company.

Joke was fine, but I read on and found they’ve made a pop-up book. I love pop-up books, and have lots of them. Lots of Shakespeare books, too.

So I went to see if I could buy a couple locally, and maybe I can, but the website has something that made me so grumpy I’m thinking of ordering from Amazon instead of driving 9 miles to support an independent book seller. This is it:

Recommended Reading Level
Minimum Age: 7
Maximum Age: 10
Minimum Grade Level: 2
Maximum Grade Level: 5

Now this is the blurb:

Pop-up Shakespeare: Every play and Poem in Pop-up 3-D (Hardcover)

Learn about all of Shakespeare's plays in one book!

Read about William Shakespeare’s plays, sonnets, and poems as you never have before in an entertaining pop-up book collaboration between the internationally known comedy troupe the Reduced Shakespeare Company and best-selling illustrator Jennie Maizels. Featuring five interactive spreads filled with dramatic pop-ups, fun foldouts, hilarious summaries, and fascinating commentaries, this is the perfect introduction to one of the world’s greatest playwrights and his enduring works.


I’ve known of these guys for over 30 years, have seen them live (at the old Vortex theatre in ABQ, owned the “Complete Works” and shared it with my kids repeatedly…
Their work is not aimed at children, though some kids can really enjoy it. But few kids 7 to ten would even be able to read (with any understanding) even that description of the book. There’s no reason for me to think that the book is for children. But that store seems….

My head is running around back and forth objecting. :-) :-)

Their recommended reading level followed several quotes from reviews that all make it clear that it’s for all ages.
I’m not sure who it is I’m trying to defend, here, emotionally.

Logic and wonder, I think.
I don’t like bookstores to discourage teens and adults from buying pop-up books for themselves!

If I go to the store I’ll resurrect this rant, probably and say “Are you familiar with this company? With their humor and writing? Why is this in the kids’ section?” And they’ll be thinking… where is that little button that calls the police? :-)

Well maybe not.

But surely that won’t happen if I order them from Amazon, and…
…and I’ll save gasoline and so enable the planet to live longer.
…and it will be safer.
…and I will save time…

Here it is, anyway, introduced by the authors and the illustrator:

It’s another argument, for me, against thinking of when unschoolers can read. “Can read” what? Maybe, the pop-up Shakespeare. :-)

Those poor second graders whose parents might think they should be able to read it because a website said so.


Sandra Dodd

Much easier than buying a pop-up book is watching a youtube video, so for anyone who’s unfamiliar with The Reduced Shakespeare Company, here’s a good part of the full original play (The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).
The three next of four should show in the side bar (or be offered to you as a “next” if you’re on a phone maybe).

If you lose that, it’s also at
(third image from the bottom)

I have another Shakespeare page, linked from that, too. and that one has the video of Sam Rockwell playing Thisbe (from Pyramus and Thisbe, from A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

If you liked that Hamlet up top, the full 90 minutes or so of the play is now on youtube.
It incorporates Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, which were originally stand-along Rennaisance Faire performances. The one who’s playing the females (Adam Long) was in the originals, too.

Romeo and Juliet is right after the intros, but the intros are fun. If you think any of this is fun, you should probably watch it all. Then watch it again. :-)
It’s quick and clever and practically perfect.