Long listed for the North Somerset Teachers' Book Award Read Aloud Category
Book Title: To Wee or Not to Wee
Author: Pamela Butchart
Illustrator: Thomas Flintham
Publishers: Nosy Crow
The introduction of Shakespeare into ANY classroom will no doubt be greeted by a general sinking feeling and a chorus of groans and ‘I don’t get it’s. So it is with absolute joy that Pamela Butchart’s ‘To Wee or Not to Wee!' enters stage left as a glorious way for children young and old to access the Bard's work!
Using the lively primary school voice of Izzy (Butchart’s lovable creation from previous books), she retells at a veritable gallop four big Shakespearean stories, likening her friends' various situations to that of Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet etc.
The essence of the original plays is captured perfectly and the plots and characters (complete with all their blood, guts, murders, ghosts and ‘yucky’ kissing) are still recognisable despite some ‘slight’ tweaks to allow for moments of comic genius. One of my favourite ‘tweaks’ is that the reason behind the Montague and Capulet feud is a borrowed faulty Hoover!
In ‘To Wee or Not to Wee!’, Butchart has created a way to take the fear and groans out of Shakespeare, getting over that language hurdle by letting Izzy do the talking! It is a must read for any class who are just about to pick up a Shakespearean text for the first time- even those in secondary school would find this a humorous way to embark on a GCSE set text!
I dearly hope that Butchart has more retellings of other Shakespeare works in the offing; I really could have used Izzy putting me straight about ‘A Merchant of Venice’ when I was 12!