5th Grade and Up
A missing diamond.
A 500-year-old necklace.
A mystery dating back to the time of William Shakespeare.
Named after a character from Shakespeare’s play, Much Ado About Nothing, misfit 6thgrader Hero isn’t at all interest in this literary connection. But when an eccentric neighbor tells her that there might be a million-dollar diamond hidden in her new house and that it could reveal something about Shakespeare’s true identity, Hero is determined to live up to her name and uncover the mystery.
My knowledge on Shakespeare isn’t exactly vast. I read ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in 9thgrade and ‘Othello’ in 10thgrade. I drew a comic book based on a scene from each story for homework assignments. Both stories were pretty good, just hard to understand. That’s the problem with Shakespeare; it’s not that the writing is bad it’s just hard to understand because no one talks like that anymore. I find it hard to believe that anyone ever talked like that.
I can kind of understand why Hero doesn’t like her own name. She mostly doesn’t like it because she gets teased because of it. At her new school, she starts getting teased right away after someone makes one stupid comment and the kids are relentless. I know I wouldn’t be able to handle it. Personally, I like her name; it’s a lot more original than mine.
Anyone out there remember ‘Animaniacs’ short cartoon versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, and MacBeth, where Yakko would recite Shakespeare while Dot would translate for those viewers, like Yakko, who have no idea what he’s saying. From what I can tell they were pretty decent translations. I wish they had done a cartoon about ‘Much Ado about Nothing’, mostly because I don’t know much about the play. I read a summary of the play on one of those Shakespeare cheat sheet websites and, in simple terms, it’s a Shakespearean-styled romantic comedy. I’m not kidding; this play has the making of a 21th century romantic comedy. It has people two people falling in love, a bad guy who tries to ruin the couple’s happiness by making the girl seem unfaithful, while that’s happening another couple who argue a lot somehow end up to, and everything turns out ok in the end. Personally, it’s something I wouldn’t willingly read because I’m not into romantic comedies.
There are actually three mysteries in this story. 1) Who wrote the plays? 2) Where is the diamond hidden? 3) And another mystery squeezed in that you’ll have to read the book to find out.
Once again, I won’t say too much so I don’t give away too the mystery. But I will say this: do you see the diamond shape under the title, the one with the falcon wearing a crown and holding a scepter? It’s important. Also check out the Author’s Note and the Historical Timeline at the end of the book to find out what’s fact and what’s fiction.
This weeks’ Weird but True Fact about William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare invented many new words and phrases, including “eyeball” and “in a pickle”.