This is a lovely book, it looks good, it is a nice size, it is well presented, and most of all it is an incredibly good reference on Shakespeare.
Every character who has ever appeared in Shakespeare is listed in here. You know where they appeared, when and anything of significance about them. This is a useful item when you are studying shakespeare, but also just in general literture where references to Shakespeare abound. We have found this really useful in just about every instance but amazingly also in watching Disney movies - for instance in Aladdin there is a character called Iago, and for the children it was a really interesting way of introducing Othello in an indirect way.
These are not long and dull explanations, they are short and punchy so they are ideal for all the family.
There is also historical information about Shakespeare for instance the band of players Shakespeare might have performed in, and contemporarys.
As I said, this is a nice sized book. It is in Hardback, but only slightly larger than a standard paperback, so it doesn't seem overwhelming. It is also light and easy to pick up and put down (not always easy with reference works.) I loved the cover illustration which is simple, and the title - it is kind of catchy and was enjoyed by the older kids too.
There is also a ribbon marker in it which makes going back to the page you have just read easy, no folding down corners here.
The book is set out as a dictionary with all characters, etc, listed alphabetically and there is cross referencing so it is fairly easy to find things quickly.
This is not a browsing book, but a reference, and a very useful one.