Inspiring Young Readers
The Boy and the Globe by Tony Bradman
Ever wondered how you might get a younger reader – maybe someone aged 7-10 – interested in Shakespeare? Or maybe you just want them to start getting to grips with a bit of history? Well, here’s one potential solution for you – give them a copy of Tony Bradman’s The Boy and the Globe. I’d be very surprised if that didn’t do the trick because it’s a glorious, tongue-in-cheek sort of romp, peppered throughout with real life facts and plenty of outrageous fiction.
This is the story of young Toby Cuffe who finds himself trying to make a living as a petty thief in the employ of Moll Cut-Purse ‘the Queen of London’s thieves and pick-pockets’. But Toby’s a bit smarter than the average little rogue – he can read for a start – and he finds himself posted to the Globe playhouse as one of the gang lifting purses from the audience. From the start it’s clear Toby is more interested in the theatre than he is in thieving and when he’s caught he uses all his natural wit to his advantage.
Toby has, in fact, stepped into a potential theatrical turf war between two theatres, The Globe and the soon-to-be-reopened, Rose Theatre and he will end up playing a pivotal role in the success of one of them. I don’t want to spell out the way the story goes because that’s too much of a spoiler, but suffice it to know that you’ll be spending time with William Shakespeare, Edward (Ned) Alleyn, Thomas Dekker, Thomas Middleton and John Heminges to name but a few of the real life characters who inhabit the story. That’s not all of course – there’s also the fictional ones; Toby himself and the gloriously naughty-but-nice Moll who is all sound and fury with a big soft-centre.
As is often the case with the lovely Barrington Stoke Conkers series, there are a few extras at the end – spot-the-character drawings, some characters to colour and a few (pretty tame) Shakespeare insults to spice up your vocabulary. The book is also illustrated ‘with inky daubs by Tom Morgan-Jones’ and they add to the overall sense of fun and games.