The Merchant of Venice: A Shakespeare Story
Publisher: Orchard Books
As part of Orchard Classics, Matthews and Ross are converting Shakespeare's best known plays to short novels to introduce KS1 and early (or reluctant) KS2 readers to the bare bones of the plots.
Each slim volume is prefaced by the cast list which, like the main text, is enlivened by Ross's illustrations. Short essays placed at the end put the key points of the play's argument into context and include basic information on Elizabethan theatre, explaining about the Globe.
Shakespeare's dialogue is greatly abridged, but key passages are kept, and the well-known sayings (like 'all that glistens is not gold…') remain. Characterisation is simplified but accurate, and overall young readers will get a flavour of each play.