In new boks Bard is alive, winning, colorful; Shakespeare and His Theatre, by John Russell Brown. Illustrated by David Gentleman. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books. 64 pp. $12.50. A Midsummer Night's Dream, by William Shakespeare. Illustrated by Kevin Maddison. Boston: David R. Godine. 96 pp. $13.95.
A whole new generation of young adults may grow up not hating Shakespeare -- if enough discover ''Shakespeare and His Theatre.'' This briskly written, colorfully illustrated book tells everything you've ever wanted to know about his theater, and even more.
Although the Globe was distroyed by fire in 1666, author John Russell Brown has culled a very complete look (from the sketchiest of clues) at this theater for which Shakespeare wrote his plays and in which he acted. The reader is taken on an insider's view of the theater and learns that the actors sometimes only had a few hours of rehearsal before performing -- and that typical props included a rainbow, a garden arbor, cauldrons, and fireworks. While perhaps too detailed for some, the book is an ideal gift for the high school student interested in Shakepeare, Elizabethan history, or acting.
A newly published edition of ''A Midsummer Night's Dream'' might spark a love of Shakespeare in a young reader. Kevin Maddison's illustrations of changeable love and mistaken identity focus on a well-populated fairy kindgom rather than the romance of the young lovers. This new release is a graceful, humorous introduction to the bard.