The Suitcase Lady


June 16, 2015, 9:49 pm

“I have a wonderful fairytale for you today. It takes place in a magical forest and was written by a guy named William Shakespeare.”

These words introduced my last art class of the school year. The first and second graders would be drawing scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Fortunately, I did not have to reduce the bard’s 87 page play to kid size. Lisl Weil in her charming book, Donkey Head, supplied the child friendly synopsis. For illustrations, I used the elegantly detailed illustrations of Arthur Rackham and Kevin Maddison.

The classes loved the characters instantly: the bickering Queen Titania and King Oberon, the mischief maker Puck (a.k.a. Robin Goodfellow), the bad actor Nick Bottom and his donkey head and the fairies named Peaseblossom, Mustardseed, Cobweb and Moth.

I encouraged the children to draw their favorite scenes and characters. The various classes and teachers were free to experiment with art media of their choice. When the artwork was completed, I said, “You can now do something I ALMOST NEVER let you do. You can add glitter to your picture.”

June 21, Midsummer, is fast approaching. Go out and make some magic happen.

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.
—Oberon describes Titania’s bower, where she sleeps.

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