Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: M.E. Castle
Illustrator: Daniel Jennewein
Fakespeare: Something Stinks in Hamlet by M.E. Castle is a middle-grade novel about Kyle Word, who gets sucked into a magical copy of Hamlet with his neighbor Halley and his baby brother Gross Gabe. In order to escape, Kyle must make his way to the end of the story while helping Hamlet along the way. While at first the trio doesn't get along, they are able to help Hamlet and Ophelia prove that all the shenanigans are actually the fault of the evil King Claudius. At the end of the story, they find the magic book again, read the last line, and are magically whisked away back to their home.
This novel is not an accurate introduction to Shakespeare. Rather, it is an introduction to reading for kids who rarely read. The syntax is basic, but the story is engaging. The illustrations are simple and aid the story without being the main attraction. The main character is a proudly proclaimed anti-reader. Throughout the novel, he makes references to hating books, words, reading, and libraries, but changes his mind after discovering the adventures contained in Shakespeare's Hamlet. The book also parallels the alternate installment of Fakespeare: Star-crossed in Romeo and Juliet.