Format: ARC- Paperback
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Number of pages: 144 (hardcover)
Publishing: March 13th, 2018
Source: ARC received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Stink: Hamlet and Cheese is the eleventh book in the Stink series of books by Megan Mc Donald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. I believe my kiddo and I left off somewhere around book five, but we always loved Stink and even his sister Judy Moody's series of books. In Stink: Hamlet and Cheese, Sophie of the Elves plans to attend a Shakespeare camp over spring break and entices Stink to join her with talk of mad kings, murders, sword-fights and the hurling of insults at one another. However, on Stinks first day, he learns that Shakespeare camp is full of girls, including his “most time enemy,” Riley Rottenberger. Riley's even threatening Stink with re-enacting her favorite scene from Romeo and Juliet, you know the one where they kiss. Yuck, cooties! It's no surprise when Stink tries to back out, but Sophie cleverly reminds Stink that she does all the things that he likes to do, so why shouldn't he try something she wants to do for once?
Hamlet and Cheese sounds a lot like a Kid College course offered at our local community college over the summer where kids learn the basics of drama and put on a small play for their parents at the end. For Stink and Sophie, Shakespeare camp included making silly faces, creating Shakespearean insults, learning lines, the art of stretching, role-playing, sword-fights and my favorite, dramatic death scenes. Hamlet and Cheese provides a brief introduction to Shakespeare and the theater while incorporating plenty of humor. Who knew that the earliest Knock Knock joke might have been from Macbeth? The insults are silly and amusing with ones like "maggot pie" and "toad-spotted bum bailey." I could see children wanting to come up with their own. There are even a few lines quoted from Macbeth and Hamlet, while the lines weren't explained fully, they might still pique a child's interest. I wish my ARC had included the finished artwork by Peter Reynolds, but I'm sure it will be just as fun as his previous illustrations for the Stink series. My favorite part is when Stink and Sophie are watching an outdoor performance of Macbeth and Stink's dog Pugsy tries to get in on the act.