Macbeth, Romeo And Juliet, Hamlet, and more...finished in sixty minutes? It didn't seem possible when I started reading these neat little books. This is every high school student's dream. They actually do deliver a quality representation of the Bard's plays. I love Shakespeare in any form, but what I really love about it is the language. I have two senior high kids who have both finished in depth studies of Macbeth. I compared the versions they had been assigned (both different) with the sixty-minute version sent for review and I had to look hard to find the portions that had been edited out. There were no glaring omissions and no scenes cut that I wished had been left in. These folks have managed to retain the feel and flavor of the original yet still shorten it enough so it is manageable by anyone: even if they usually feel faint at the mere mention of Shakespeare.
The author is the director of a theatre program in a small college in Arizona and he has superbly edited these versions so that they can be acted out not merely read in a class setting. The production would be easy to achieve with minimal numbers and the full flavor still remains.
There are great definitions at the bottom of each page to help with the difficult words and the flow of the play is smooth and enjoyable. The only thing I can think of that would make these books perfect for the home school world would be the addition of short study guides. A few questions to check comprehension and develop deeper thought for each book would be a great asset. The study guides I have are pretty specific as to act and scene numbers, and with the editing that's been done for these 60 minute versions I found it a bit difficult to match up questions with scenes. The editors of these cool little versions do recommend that you use them as a stepping-stone to the "real thing". The idea is to develop a love for the story and the language and foster a desire to go further and read more of Shakespeare's classic works without intimidation. I think these books meet that goal and then some. They are bright, light and friendly. I believe you and your children will appreciate them as much as I did. A fun idea would be to read these 60-minute versions and then find a good production of the play on video. Shakespeare was written to be watched, not read, and your students will enjoy the plays much more if they are familiar with the story lines.