Kip’s Illustrated Guide to Shakespearean Insults, 2nd Edition

  • $14.99
    Unit price per 

    ISBN 9781735575346
    84 pages
    9 x 6 inches
    Publisher: Minnesota Children's Press
    Published: 10/30/2022

Through more than 40 original full-color comic illustrations, professional comedian and actor Kip Hathaway visualizes funny takes on 20 Shakespeare plays to show what the characters are trying to communicate through their spoken insults.

Proudly printed in the U.S.A. in Kip's home state of Minnesota, the $14.99 softcover, 6x9-inch landscape-designed book offers 81 pages of quotes from plays as well as historical and theatrical context, comic humor and community insights, all in a highly accessible form: an illustrated guide.

And not a moment too soon. With Pandemic learning loss and disarray in schools, students struggle more than ever to read 450-year-old Shakespearean language and extract the timeless ideas and feelings from it.

But as a professional comedian and stick figure illustrator Kip learned in middle school, Shakespeare and his gift for the wacky insult can be the middle schoolers best and funniest friend. From Shakespeare and Kip's illustrations, readers can learn to infuse art into insults that can both protect from bullies, as well as disarm bullies with wit, humor and the dizzying wonder of the snappy retort.

Kip's accompanying text includes footnoted references to each insult to send readers rushing back to their books to mine the quote and play for meaning. Kip's text also contextualizes the insults to help modern readers understand why an insult zings, stings and playfully disarms foes and folly-makers with wit.

And he provides help to readers who want to refine their own art of the insult with the appendices in the back offering a Shakespearean Insult Builder, Suggested Readings, Bibliography and Curriculum for middle school English classes.

In this highly readable and engagingly funny book, readers from middle school on up will find an insult for all occasions. Better yet, they'll learn to trade barbs with Bard and craft their own insults.



About the Author

Kip Hathaway is a stick figure illustrator, author, stage and film actor, model and improv comedian. Kip's Illustrated Guide to Shakespearean Insults is his first book. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.

This 2022 version of the book is an outgrowth of Kip's failed middle school English homework assignment some 15 years ago. Instead of writing an essay as the teacher expected (why, knowing Kip?), Kip drew a comic book of Shakespearean Insults to show the thoughts and feelings Shakespearean plays address.

Sure, Kip got an F on that homework.

But in the process, he had a gleefully inventive time meeting the funniest friend a middle schooler can have, William Shakespeare.

Kip also learned how to disagree productively and respectfully with teachers, advocate for his vision, defend his truth. He ended up with a C on the assignment. Most importantly, Kip learned to empathize with kids who learn — and do — differently, a lesson he fully embodies now when he is in teaching, mentoring and counselor roles.

During the Pandemic isolation of 2020 and the closure of acting venues, Kip used the time to upgrade his comic book. Since he turned in the homework-gone-wrong, he has acted in many of Shakespeare's plays, deepening his sense of all that Shakespeare has to offer. Just months before Pandemic closures, Kip enjoyed playing the only comic role in Macbeth-the Porter-in the Wayward Theatre Company's sold-out performances that moved room to room throughout the historic James J. Hill House in St. Paul. Critics voted it among the best productions in the Twin Cities of 2019.

Among Kip's additions in this book are curriculum teaching points, a bibliography, suggested readings and book club discussion prompts.

Now teachers and families can use this highly accessible visual guide to 20 Shakespearean plays to the greater good of understanding Shakespeare, each other and human nature—all through barbs with the bard! And without getting an F!


“This little paperback, according to Minnesota’s legendary bookseller David Unowsky, could appeal both to children, who love Hathaway’s stick figure illustrations, and adults, who will be amused by The Bard’s epithets.”  -- Mary Ann Grossmann, St. Paul Pioneer Press Book Critic

"Just in time for holiday family gatherings, kids and families get the laughs we all need from an unusual source: William Shakespeare. In a creative take on old topics--almost 500 years old! --locally published author, stick-figure illustrator and professional improv comedian Kip Hathaway brings us Kip's Illustrated Guide to Shakespearean Insults. His drawings are witty and wacky and helpful in showing readers what the words Shakespeare has written are about: usually life's dramas we are addressing today in a climate of growing incivility and insults gone wild. This book helps tame them with wit, creativity and fun! Read it aloud around the holiday table, play charades with it, but it seems this winner from our own Grand Marais' Minnesota Children's Press is the holiday cheer we all need!" - Brian Larsen, reporter

"I wish I'd had this book when I first started reading Shakespeare as a middle schooler. The language of the plays is so dense, it's hard at first to get to the ideas and the story--which are really really good once you get there. But to have pictures of Shakespearean insults is a great motivator to dive into the book and experience the story. And it's fun and funny!" - Sammie Garrity, grade 12

"As a high school English teacher, I can definitely see myself using Kip's Illustrated Guide to Shakespearean Insults as a template for students to try their hand at illustrating their own selected insults before diving into the Bard's plays." - Nicole Kronzer, high school teacher

"Kip unites cartoons and text to create comic clarity that is especially appealing to middle schoolers who are being introduced (or trying to avoid being introduced) to Shakespeare. Kip's talent for delving into ideas to find both the funny and the meaningful is a skill I personally witness and delight in while performing with him in my improv troupe, Stevie Ray's Comedy Cabaret in Chanhassen, Minnesota. Antic, empathetic, fun, funny and thought-provoking, Kip's Illustrated Guide to Shakespearean Insults will make you laugh and think while it impishly teaches you about 16th century world of Shakespeare." - Stevie Ray, professional comedian

 "The pictures are really funny. I wish more books were like this because you can see there is a story going on between the people he draws." - Sabrina Duschek, grade 2