Children's LiteratureHenry VIII was the best of kings; Henry VIII was the worst of kings. Some books portray just one side, but this fascinating book examines his many facets and lets readers draw their own conclusions. Henry was one of the 16th century's most influential rulers, with wide-ranging interests in the arts and renaissance-style technologyand in wielding political power. He was also a tyrant who coolly ordered beheadings of inconvenient people, including wives. He ruled during a time of great change, some of which he instigated, and he led his country from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance as well as through a religious revolution. Intriguing sidebars include a poem written by Henry; a description of the young king from a primary source; background about the king's mistress who gave him a son, and a bit about the life of that sonalong with articles that provide insight into 16th century life and politics. The illustrations include reproductions of paintings, engravings, and maps. I wish that picture credits included the original sources, not just current copyright holders or owners. Some illustrations appeared to be 16th century, some Victorian, and others indeterminate. End material includes source notes; a list of works consulted; an index; titles of books, plays, videos and films, and several web sites. Web sites listed provide the perfect complement to the text. One features excerpts of Henry's love letters to Anne Boleyn, another offers representative poetry written by the king, and a third plays music from the 16th century. 2004, Lucent Books/Thompson Gale, Ages 12 to Adult.
Janet Crane Barley