Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Elizabeth I: The outcast who became England's queen

Elizabeth I: The outcast who became England's queen

Simon Adams
Nonfiction  Series
For ages 8 to 12
National Geographic Children's Books, 2005   ISBN: 978-1426301728

She was a princess; the daughter of the great Henry VIII and the daughter of fallen Anne Boleyn. She was also a princess whose fortunes went up and down like the tides. After the execution of her mother when she was barely three years old, Elizabeth was not in favor with her mercurial father, though he did make sure that she was clothed, fed, and educated. Then, when he married his sixth and last wife, Henry VIII sent for his daughter to become a member of his household, and for a brief time Elizabeth had a happy family life.

This did not last however, and from 1547 until 1558 - when Elizabeth became queen - her life was full of upheavals, dangers, and uncertainty. This was especially so during the reign of Elizabeth's half sister Mary. Mary was a staunch catholic and she was suspicious of protestant Elizabeth, believing that the young woman was plotting to take over the throne. In actual fact Elizabeth was doing her best not to get involved in any political activities. She knew her best course of action was to stay submissive, to live quietly, and to wait.

And so Elizabeth survived to come to the throne of England, and she gave her country forty-five years of relative security and prosperity. Not only did England flourish under her rule, but when she died the transition to her successor was smooth and trouble free.

In this excellent title in the National Geographic World History Biographies series, the author not only tells us the story of one of the world's greatest leaders but she also gives us a picture of what life in Elizabeth's time was like. Readers will come to appreciate how much of an impact Elizabeth's policies had on her country, on her people, and on the political situation in Europe. Packed with wonderful fully annotated illustrations and photographs, and with a timeline at the bottom of every page to give readers a sense of what took place when during Elizabeth's reign, this title is a must for readers who have an interest in history.