After taking her children to visit Shakespeare's house, E. Nesbit one of the greatest of children's novelists was faced with a conundrum:
I can't understand a word of it, said Iris.
And you said it was so beautiful, Rosamund added, reproachfully. What does it all mean?
Yes, Iris went on, you said it was a fairy tale, and we've read three pages, and there's nothing about fairies, not even a dwarf, or a fairy god mother.
Stop, stop, I cried; I will tell you the story.
And she did, eventually publishing her retellings of 20 of Shakespeare's plays.
The plays we include are:
As You Like It, Hamlet, Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Nigh, The Tempest, Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, Midsummer Night's Dream and The Merchant of Venice.
We have selected for each play images from such great illustrators as Walter Crane, Charles Folkard, May Mulliner, Arthur Rackham, Lewis Rhead, Charles Robinson W. Heath Robinson, and Hugh Thomson.