Title: Good Queen Bess
Author: Diane Stanley
Major Themes: Elizabeth I, England,, English Reformation, Henry VIII, Spanish Armada, Tudors
Synopsis: Elizabeth I’s life is described in simple story and beautiful paintings.
We have been studying about the early part of the Reformation lately, and enriched our studies with Good Queen Bess, by Diane Stanley. I really like most of her picture biographies (the exception is Michelangelo, because of all the nudity in the pictures). I was amazed a few minutes ago, when I picked it up to review it, that my 4-year-old could remember the events pictured on several of the pages. It’s been three or four weeks since we read it! Obviously, he was paying attention and the story stuck with him, even though we only read through it once.
Elizabeth was the second living child of Henry VIII, born to his second wife. The first part of the book tells the story of Henry and his six wives, to set the scene for Elizabeth’s accession to the throne. When her father died, his only living son became king, but was sickly and died a few years later. Then, Henry’s oldest daughter, Mary became queen, dying after a few years. After that, finally and unexpectedly, Elizabeth became queen, ruling for many years. She was well-loved by her people, and ruled the country wisely.
Good Queen Bess tells the story of Elizabeth’s life in a simple, memorable, and accurate story. The illustrations really enhance the story, giving children a vivid picture of Elizabeth’s life and times. This is a wonderful supplement to a study of the Reformation era.
WARNING: Beheadings are mentioned a few times.
Listening Level—Ages 3 – 4, 5 – 8
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12