Thursday, June 2, 2011

Review: William's Midsummer Dreams by Zilpha Keatley Snider

Title:William's Midsummer Dreams
Author:Zilpha Keatley Snider
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Imprint:Atheneum Books
Pub. Date:06/07/2011

After a year living with Aunt Fiona, William is off to audition for the role of Puck in a summer production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream . But getting the part is just the beginning. Now William has to deal with a jealous rival, a not-so-secret admirer, and the way the Baggetts still haunt him in nightmares. William’s summer is filled with acting and costumes and applause, but he still worries sometimes that he and his younger siblings will never be able to shake off the past. But when the Baggetts show up again, William realizes that he is braver than he thought, and that it will all turn out okay.

(Summary via Amazon and cover via Goodreads)


What a delightful book! I'm thinking this must be a sequel since it read like one, but it was easy to read as a stand-alone. I don't feel I was missing any important details. This book is about William, a budding young actor who is participating in a summer Shakespeare festival. With his natural acting abilities, William steals the show at the auditions. We are taken through his rehearsals and performances. There is a little drama with rivals and scary memories of the past, but overall it is just a massively entertaining look at one young man's summer on stage.

One thing this book captured amazingly was the magic of being on stage. That overwhelming feeling of becoming someone else entirely and getting lost in your performance. That feeling that you can fly when you hear that applause just for you. There were also a lot of good descriptions of all the behind the scenes work that goes into a theatre production. Williams was also a great lead character. He had insecurities, but he also was able to overcome them. He was able to adapt and learn. William showed poise, and I think he was an excellent example of a normal kid with a lot of talent.

Overall, I say this is a great read for kids. Just enough drama to keep them interested, but nothing that overwhelms the real story of William's theatre production. Kids that are interested in acting or performing will definitely find a lot of themselves in William. As an adult, I loved this book too. It made me recall all the times I've been on stage, and it brought back some really fond memories. I recommend this book for sure!

Galley provided by publisher for review.

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