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Blackwood, Gary
New York : Dutton Children's Books, 1998
IL 5-8 RL 5.5
ISBN 0525458638

Young Widge, an orphan, has never had an easy life, first being placed in an orphanage and then as an apprentice to Dr. Bright. At the orphanage he learns how to care for and defend himself. From Dr. Bright, a clergyman and healer of sorts, he learns how to write a form of shorthand, which he uses to steal sermons from other ministers for the lazy doctor. This skill makes him valuable enough to be sold to a new master, a theatrical manager, who orders him to attend a performance of Shakespeare's Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark to transcribe the play. Failing to do so on his first try, Widge accidentally joins the theater company and for the first time in his life, enjoys real friendship and camaraderie. Widge learn much more than acting, things such as humor,  loyalty, and values. Will Widge's master exact some evil vengeance for his failure to deliver a copy of Hamlet? Or, will Widge betray his new friends by delivering it? Swordplay and wordplay, cliffhanger chapter endings, rich period details, and one very plucky protagonist make this book pure fun to read.  (Jeannie Bellavance for Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice

SUBJECTS:       Theater -- Fiction
                        Orphans -- Fiction
                        Actors and actresses -- Fiction
                        Great Britain -- History -- Elizabeth, 1558-1603 -- Fiction
                        Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Fiction


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