Elizabeth I: The Outcast Who Became England's Queen
Author: Simon Adams
Pages: 64
Publisher/Date: National Geographic/2005
ISBN: 0792236491
Age Levels: 8-12

Book Review

National Geographic World History Biographies™ is a series of illustrated biographies for children ages 8 to 12. The individual books are stunning—highly readable, entertaining, and visually spectacular. Make room on your library or classroom bookshelves for these top-notch, non-fiction titles.

Beginning with Elizabeth’s birth, Adams does a fine job of bringing to life Tudor England—especially the tensions between the Catholics and Protestants. We learn that Elizabeth’s childhood was "filled with danger" after her mother, Anne Boleyn, was executed when Elizabeth was just three. We learn too that Elizabeth was an intelligent and eager student, and was taught "mathematics, astronomy, history, geography, architecture, needlework, horseback riding, and dancing. She was also taught Latin, and by the age of ten was learning French, Italian, and Greek."

In the section, "From Prison to Throne," we read of Elizabeth’s imprisonment in the Tower of London for suspected treason against her older sister, Mary, who was then queen. Elizabeth continually proclaimed her innocence and was later released but kept under house arrest. When Mary died in 1558, Elizabeth became the Queen of England.

Readers will get a feel for what was happening in the world at large in section three. Here Adams discusses European rivals, Mary Queen of Scots, the Spanish Armada, and the explorers of the day.

In the last section of the book, "Glorious Queen," we come to understand why Elizabeth was much beloved by her subjects. Elizabethan England was one in which "people had enough to eat, and trade and commerce grew."

The layout and liberal use of photographs, sidebar facts, and quotes makes the reader feel as if she is looking at a scrapbook. A timeline runs along the bottom of the pages, providing context.

The text is a terrific blend of factual information and fascinating vignettes. Add to that the book’s eye-catching illustrations and you have here non-fiction at its best. A glossary, bibliography, and index are included.

Reviewed by the teachers at Education Oasis
©2005 Education Oasis http://www.educationoasis.com

About the Author

Simon Adams was born in Bristol, England, and studied at London and Bristol Universities. He then worked as an editor of children's reference books before becoming a full-time writer 15 years ago. Since then, he has written and contributed to more than 60 books on subjects as varied as the Tudors, American history, the sinking of the Titanic, the two World Wars, and the history of jazz. He lives in London and is a keen cyclist and walker.