William Shakespeare

When we started Real Reads we thought it couldn’t be done – 5,000-word retellings of Shakespeare’s best-known plays in a language which uses many of the bard’s own words, adding to them in Shakespearean style and idiom to create shorter versions which are powerful plays in their own right. Then Helen Street showed us exactly how it could be achieved, and we are proud to publish the first Real Reads Shakespeare plays, acting versions perfect both for personal enjoyment and for school plays and theatre groups. Charly Cheung’s stylish illustrations bring these wonderful dramas vividly to life.

We are very impressed not only with the look of the books, but also the format and style. Helen has done a fantastic job of retelling the plays in modern English while still retaining the verse. Real Reads and we at Finding the Will are treading a similar path – introducing the wonderful plays of Shakespeare to children at an early age, making them accessible and fun to read, so that when studying a Shakespeare play in the future, perhaps for an examination, much of the fear has been alleviated.

Jules Hobbs, Director, Finding the Will

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream cover

William Shakespeare

Retold by Helen Street

Illustrated by Charly Cheung

ISBN 978-1-906230-44-9

£4.99

Mischief is in the air when the King and Queen of the Fairies quarrel and Puck is left in charge of the love potion.

Four young people are lost in the woods on midsummer’s night. Will they find each other and true love, or will Puck’s meddling leave them broken-hearted and alone?

A band of players prepares to entertain the Duke of Athens. But now that the fairies have made a donkey out of their leading man, will Quince and the others ever get to play their parts?

Is there time to put everything right before this magical night is over?

Click here for the Shakespeare original language comparison

Click on the thumbnails below to see sample spreads.

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The Tempest

The Tempest cover

William Shakespeare

Retold by Helen Street

Illustrated by Charly Cheung

ISBN 978-1-906230-46-3

£4.99

A storm, a shipwreck, an enchanted island ...

A violent storm shipwrecks the King of Naples and his noblemen on what appears to be an uninhabited island. What the king doesn’t know is that they have been brought here by powerful magic.

Prospero, the mysterious ruler of the island, has a plan, but will he use his magic for good or bad against the castaways? His daughter, Miranda, has never seen another man except her father. What will she think of the stranger who stumbles into her life? Prospero’s monstrous servant, Caliban, sees a chance to overthrow his master. Will he succeed?

Enchantment and treachery are everywhere on the island – which will prove the stronger?

Click here for the Shakespeare original language comparison

Click on the thumbnails below to see sample spreads.

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Macbeth

Macbeth cover

William Shakespeare

Retold by Helen Street

Illustrated by Charly Cheung

ISBN 978-1-906230-47-0

£4.99

On a dark heath, Macbeth stumbles across three witches who can see into the future.

What he hears will change everything. Egged on by his wife, he decides to kill in order to gain the Scottish crown. How many people will have to die in Macbeth’s pursuit of power?

With armies, ghosts and magic against him, will Macbeth survive in this tale of greed and betrayal? Getting the crown is one thing – keeping it is quite another.

Click here for the Shakespeare original language comparison

Click on the thumbnails below to see sample spreads.

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Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet cover

William Shakespeare

Retold by Helen Street

Illustrated by Charly Cheung

ISBN 978-1-906230-45-6

£4.99

What could be worse than falling in love with your enemy?

Romeo Montague thinks he’s in love until he meets Juliet, the daughter of the Capulets. With her, he discovers what true love really feels like. But their two families are bitter rivals, and no one must know about their secret passion.

When Romeo kills Juliet’s cousin in a duel, their hope of happiness seems ended. Can Friar Laurence reconcile the two families, or will his plans bring even more tragedy?

Click here for the Shakespeare original language comparison

Click on the thumbnails below to see sample spreads.

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Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night cover

William Shakespeare

Retold by Helen Street

Illustrated by Charly Cheung

ISBN 978-1-906230-56-2

£4.99

Viola survives a shipwreck, but she thinks her twin brother Sebastian has died.

Alone in a strange country where it isn’t safe to be a single girl, Viola disguises herself as a boy called Cesario and finds work as a servant.

But dressing in boy’s clothes doesn’t stop Viola falling in love with a man – who is in love with someone else. Will she ever manage to win his love for herself?

And who is this other young man that appears, looking so like Cesario? What confusion will result from his arrival? Perhaps Viola’s brother didn’t drown after all …

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Hamlet

Hamlet cover

William Shakespeare

Retold by Helen Street

Illustrated by Charly Cheung

ISBN 978-1-906230-55-5

£4.99

Hamlet’s father, the king of Denmark, has died suddenly. But instead of grieving, his mother Gertrude has married the dead king’s brother, Claudius.

One dark night, Hamlet sees a ghost. It is his dead father, who claims he was murdered by Claudius, the new king. But did Hamlet really see a ghost, or did he just imagine it? And if he did see a ghost, was it telling him the truth?

Hamlet plans to avenge his father by killing Claudius. But the man he stabs isn’t Claudius, as he thinks, but his girlfriend’s father. So the wrong man dies.

So much tragedy, but there is more to come. Who else will die an untimely death? And who will live to tell the tale?

Click on the thumbnails below to see sample spreads.

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