Title: Kings & Queens of England Parts 1 & 2
Author: Louise Jones
Illustrator: Robin Davies
Pages: 49 & 49
Reading Level: 9 & up
Star Rating: ★★★★

English history has always fascinated me. The legendary kings like Arthur and Alfred the Great; the invasion from Normandy, the struggle with Scotland… But most of all the Family Trees. They’re so intertwined, I can see why many wars were started over lineage disputes. It seems like everyone was related to everybody! Lancasters, Yorks, Tudors, Stuarts… It’s dizzying.

But these two, tiny books, Kings and Queens of England – Parts 1 & 2, presented the timeline and lineage of the English Monarchy more clearly than I have ever before seen. Beginning with Alfred the Great, Ms. Jones works her way through each of the English monarchs providing the circumstances of ascension and death as well as a few interesting incidents from their lives. She marches on through the centuries to the present reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Also included are two wonderful foldout family trees.

Cautions.

Several women are depicted leading armies (which, they did). Also, this paragraph is included on the last page.

Attitudes to women, and therefore to marriage, have changed enormously since World War II, and the 1960s saw a revolution in sexual morality. Marriage today is a partnership; 100 years ago the husband ‘owned’ his wife. Changes like this take time, and there is some confusion in society about the nature of marriage now; divorce has become very common. The royal family is no exception. In 1955 Princess Margaret, Elizabeth’s sister, gave up the man she loved because he had been divorced. In the 1990s all three of the queen’s married children have separated from their partners. The marriage problems of Charles, Prince of Wales, and his wife Diana made headlines for years. [pg. 45]

Illegitimate children are mentioned (this is an obvious part of English history, many contests for the throne having arisen from the claims of these illegtimates). It is even said that one king had fourteen illegitimate children by his mistresses!

It is mentioned that one prince had a “very public love-affair” which distressed his father.

One English Queen is said to have visited her native France only to return with a lover and an army who sought to overthrow the king!

Henry VIII is canvassed, along with his six wives.

Three unlucky omens are mentioned which “shadowed Richard I’s reign”.

Cromwell and Richard I are both portrayed disfavorably.

Conclusion. Kings and Queens of England will provide your children with a grid of English history which will allow them to ‘plug in’ future studies to a proper timeline.

Review © 2013 Laura Verret

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