When my AP English teacher read this to my class, I knew it had to be on E2...

The author is unknown, but it first appeared in Time-Life on the 20th of July, 1962

Hamlet for First Grade


See the man. What a funny man. His name is Hamlet. He is a prince. He is sad. Why are you sad, Hamlet?

"I am sad, for my father has died," says Hamlet. "My father was the king."

Where are you going, Hamlet?

"I am going to the castle," says Hamlet.

On the way he meets a ghost. "Where are you going?" asks the ghost.

"I am going to the castle," says Hamlet.

"Boo boo," says the ghost.

"What is your name, you silly ghost?" asks Hamlet, clapping his hands.

"I am your father," says the ghost. "I was a good king. Uncle Claudius is a bad king. He gave me poison. Would you like poison?"

"Oh, no," says Hamlet. "I would not like poison."

"Will you avenge me, Hamlet?" asks the ghost.

"Oh, yes," says Hamlet. "I will avenge you. What fun it will be to avenge you."

On the way he meets a girl.

"Where are you going?" asks the girl.

"I am going to the castle," says Hamlet.

"Ha, ha," says the girl.

"What is your name?" asks Hamlet.

"My name is Ophelia," says the girl.

"Why are you laughing?" asks Hamlet. "You are a silly goose."

"I laugh because you are so funny," says Ophelia. "I laugh because you are schizophrenic. Are you not schizophrenic?"

"I am not a schizophrenic," says Hamlet, laughing and clapping his hands. "I pretend I am a schizophrenic. I pretend, for I want to fool my Uncle. What fun it is to pretend I am a schizophrenic."

See Hamlet run. Run, Hamlet, run.

He is going to his mother's room.

"I have something to tell you, mother," says Hamlet. "Uncle Claudius is bad. He gave my father poison. Poison is not good. I do not like poison. Do you like poison?"

"Oh no, indeed!" says his mother. "I do not like poison."

"Oh, there is Uncle Claudius," says Hamlet. "He is hiding behind the curtain. Why is he hiding behind the curtain? I shall stab him. What fun it will be to stab him through the curtain."

See Hamlet draw his sword. See Hamlet stab.

Stab, Hamlet, stab.

See Uncle Claudius's blood. See Uncle Claudius's blood gush.

Gush, blood, gush.

See Uncle Claudius fall. How funny he looks, stabbed.

Ha, ha, ha.

But it is not Uncle Claudius.

It is Polonius. Polonius is Ophelia's father.

What fun Hamlet is having.

"You are naughty, Hamlet," says Hamlet's mother. "You have stabbed Polonius."

But Hamlet's mother is not cross. She loves Hamlet. He is a good boy.

And Hamlet loves his mother. She is a good mother. Hamlet loves his mother very much. Hamlet loves his mother very, very much.

Does Hamlet love his mother a little too much?

Perhaps.

See Hamlet run. Run, Hamlet, run.

Where are you going, Hamlet?

"I am going to find Uncle Claudius."

On the way he passes a brook. In the brook he sees Ophelia.

Ophelia is drowning.

"Where are you going?" asks Ophelia.

"I am going to find Uncle Claudius."

"Glub, glub," says Ophelia.

On the way he meets a man.

"Where are you going?" asks the man.

"I am going to find Uncle Claudius."

"Oh ho. I am Laertes," says the man. "Let us draw our swords. Let us duel."

"I don't think I am going to find Uncle Claudius," says Hamlet.

See Hamlet and Laertes duel.

See Laertes stab Hamlet.

See Hamlet stab Laertes.

See Hamlet's mother drink poison.

See Hamlet stab King Claudius.

See everybody wounded and bleeding and dying and dead.

What fun they are having!

Wouldn't you like to play like that?

factgirl says re: Hamlet for First Grade - The piece was published in January 1961 by Larry Siegel in MAD Magazine - I think I can see why your teacher didnt want to credit the origional source!

I think had my teacher known, she'd have jokingly claimed that MAD was a very good source of literature. In a class that uses a book (Norton's Handbook of Literature 3rd Ed or somesuch) where a song by Run DMC exists between two poems by Shakespeare, something like this just fits well. Moreso, being from MAD...

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