Something Stinks in Hamlet
by M.E. Castle
Children’s / Middle Grade / Retellings
Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group /
Publication Date: May 23rd, 2017
Get a copy here!
Three kids get lost inside Shakespeare’s book and must help Hamlet finish his story in order to return home in this silly middle school series!
You are reading this because you expressed interest in the Get Lost Book Club.
Get ready to take a journey through time to a really smelly place known as Denmark. There, an evil uncle is trying to dethrone a prince who sees ghosts. Moat serpents will try to eat you. There may be a few sword fights, and a haunted graveyard. Your only allies are the world’s most reluctant reader, Kyle Word, his annoying neighbor, Halley, and his baby brother, Gross Gabe. Help them defeat Uncle Claudius and make it to the end of the story, or you’ll be trapped in Hamlet forever!
Intrigued? Worried? Downright terrified? You should be. But if you’re ready for an adventure, step right up and follow me. It’s time to get lost.
See my review for previous books in this series:
Quick Reasons: super entertaining; several laugh-out-loud scenes; there weren’t as many tongue-in-cheek moments in this as in the other Fakespeare; the spin on THIS Hamlet was unexpected and intriguing; still love the nods to the original, as well as to other, Shakespeare pieces
Huge thanks, once again, to M.E. Castle and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group / Imprint Publishing for sending me a GORGEOUS hardbound copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.
I feel like the Narrator in this companion novel wasn’t NEARLY as sassy or snarky as the Narrator in the very first Fakespeare book I read. While there were a few passing laugh-out-loud moments between the characters and the disembodied voice, I feel the Narrator wasn’t utilized nearly as much in this journey–which is a bit disappointing for me, as I ADORE it when books sort of “break the fourth wall” or employ the use of outside perspectives within the running perspective (because, you know, that’s not NEARLY confusing enough yet for this Penguin!)
Despite the lack of Narrator action, this was still a super fun and entertaining read! While this passes over or completely skips some of the major (and, granted, more traumatizing) plot points of the original Hamlet, I feel M.E. Castle did an awesome job in retaining the overreaching morals and lessons. A few of the characters were changed at liberty of the author (and a few kept alive for the same reasons)–but overall, this series is SUCH a fantastic nod to Shakespeare, and a great way to introduce young readers to these tales of tragedy and woe. Of course, I’m not sure how the original Shakespeare would feel about cheese theft…it might be good he’s not around to read that bit.
These characters, while perhaps not quite as vibrant (or loud) as the pair in the other Fakespeare, were well-rounded and complex. I especially adore the focus on relationships that this book series pushes–in this particular case, that of a budding (though unexpected) new friendship, as well as of a boy and his baby brother. M.E. Castle writes such realistic, easy to understand relationships–especially of the sibling variety. I had a TON of fun following Kyle, Halley, and Gross Gabe on their adventure through Denmark–and cannot wait to see where the Get Lost Book Club will take us next!
This book series is light-hearted while still maintaining a fine amount of morals/lessons. The characters are laughably endearing, vibrantly-written, and SO easy to connect with. While some of the original plot is skipped over or changed completely, this book (and it’s companion!) are entertaining ways to introduce young readers to the world of Shakespeare. I’d recommend this series to lovers of the Bard, to adventure seekers, and to those who sometimes find themselves wishing they could just GET LOST in a book. Welcome to the Club, Penguins; remember, these books bite.