Joan of Arc

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Overview

Against the fascinating tapestry of Frances history during the Hundred Years' War, Diane Stanley unfolds the story of the simple thirteen-year-old village girl who in Just a few years would lead France to independence from English rule, and thus become a symbol of France's national pride. It is a story of vision and bravery, fierce determination, and tragic martyrdom. Diane Stanley's extraordinary gift to present historical information in an accessible and child-friendly format has never been more impressive, nor...

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Overview

Against the fascinating tapestry of Frances history during the Hundred Years' War, Diane Stanley unfolds the story of the simple thirteen-year-old village girl who in Just a few years would lead France to independence from English rule, and thus become a symbol of France's national pride. It is a story of vision and bravery, fierce determination, and tragic martyrdom. Diane Stanley's extraordinary gift to present historical information in an accessible and child-friendly format has never been more impressive, nor her skillful, beautifully realized illustrations (here imitating medieval illuminated manuscripts) more exquisite.

A biography of the fifteenth-century peasant girl who led a French army to victory against the English and was burned at the stake for witchcraft.

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Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Ecaminer & Chronicle
She had visions, heard "voices," cross dressed and was burned at the stake. Beyond these well-known facts, this elegant picture biography presents with striking medieval—style acrylics and with analytical clarity the complex story of the 15th century peasant firl who led France in battle against the English.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Stanley orchestrates the complexities of history into a gripping, unusually challenging story in this exemplary biography. As much a portrait of an age as of a person, her work here carefully and accessibly establishes the context of Joan's life, explaining the Hundred Years' War and its impact on ordinary people. Judiciously chosen details build atmosphere in both the text and the artwork -- painstakingly wrought, gilded paintings modeled after the illuminated manuscripts of Joan's day. Providing a more rounded view than in Poole's biography, Stanley quotes Joan and her contemporaries (and cites her sources), describes pivotal moments in battle and insightfully chronicles Joan's trial, imprisonment, recantation, execution and posthumous rehabilitation. The immaculate paintings, too, testify to scrupulous research (cathedrals, weaponry, landscapes are accurately depicted) and artistry (for example, the paintings are shaped irregularly but symmetrically, like altarpieces). At the end, Stanley offers readers different theories about Joan's "voices," and concludes, "Sometimes, in studying history, we have to accept what we know and let the rest remain a mystery." Appealing to the audience's intelligence and imagination, this book stimulates an interest in both its particular subject, Joan of Arc, and history in general. (PW best book 1998)
Publishers Weekly
"Appealing to the audience's intelligence and imagination, this book stimulates an interest in both its particular subject, Joan of Arc, and history in general," said PW in a starred review. Ages 7-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Karen Leggett
Imagine a war that has been going on since your great-great-grandparents were children. That's the way Diane Stanley introduces the Hundred Years' War between France and England in her biography of Joan of Arc. The story is engaging and informative. Stanley brings the Middle Ages to life when she talks of "even educated people believing in fairies, curses, prophecies, witches and magic." However, young people may get bogged down in the political details about Joan's supporters and detractors. The pages are large like a picture book -- an unfortunate turn-off to older students -- and the type is small, which may prompt younger students to leave the book on the shelf as well. The illustrations are intricate and colorful, but the people show no emotion, very much like a medieval book of hours.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Joan is a familiar figure in history, but understanding her and what was happening in Europe during her short life might be daunting. Diane Stanley has created a book that tells Joan's story and also explains the politics and warring parties within France, as well as the war between France and England. Joan of Arc came to the aid of her people when times were truly desperate. Her story is remarkable and tragic. The illustrations by Stanley show in great detail the costumes, interiors, countryside and residences of the rich and the poor. Her Joan emerges as a credible heroine who believed that she was destined to be the savior of France and that she was divinely inspired. The quotes in the book are taken from the trial transcripts. As Stanley says in her note "Sometimes, in studying history, we have to accept what we know and let the rest remain a mystery." It is a good introduction to this tumultuous period of history.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-This magnificent picture book exemplifies the author's talent for historical research, skill in writing clear and interesting prose, and ability to adopt different art styles and techniques appropriate to her subject. Joan of Arc's story is both history and mystery. How a peasant girl living in a class-structured century, a female in a man's world of war and politics, an unlettered visionary in a church-dominated society could change the course of history has been an ever-intriguing puzzle. Stanley finds answers in Joan's own words spoken before the Inquisition during her trial for heresy and in the 115 eyewitness accounts recorded in the Trial of Rehabilitation held after her martyrdom. From these 15th-century documents and other sources, the author weaves an absorbing and convincing story of a naive, brave, and driven young woman willing to face death to accomplish God's will as she heard it in her "voices." Stanley does not answer the question of whether Joan's role was divine or human in origin, concluding, "Sometimes, in studying history, we have to accept what we know and let the rest remain a mystery." The meticulously designed pages and colorful, decoratively framed illustrations are full of details from Joan's era. Decorative banners, costumes, scenes with crowds of soldiers and nobles, rooms with patterned floors, and gabled houses and crenellated castles reflect the bright world of the Flemish art of the late Middle Ages. Joan is pictured as young and serene, an innocent child among a throng of cynical warriors and disapproving priests. This narrative description of the greatest of French saints is a work of art, a good story, and a model of historical writing.-Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
From Stanley, a sympathetic biography that is also a straightforward affair, captured in gemlike illustrations that feign a Book of Hours touch—though many are drenched in piety—recounting the story of Joan's life. Covered are her humble beginnings, the visions and voices of saints that came to her, the road to Chinon, and her meeting with the dauphin, the fateful battle at Orleans, and the disaster at Paris, and on to the recanting of her ways and subsequent execution. Stanley does well in treating the Maid's visions and foretellings as acceptable events, as distinct possibilities within the framework of medieval thought. Best of all, she outlines the political maneuverings of the English and the French during the Hundred Years War, how Joan was used by the French dauphin and military leaders, and the treachery of the Inquisition that found a way to kill her even after she, uncharacteristically and perhaps damningly, recanted.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688143299
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/1/1998
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 8 years
  • Lexile: 980L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.68 (w) x 11.39 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

Diane Stanley is the recipient of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children and the Washington Post-Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award for the body of her work. She is well known as the author and illustrator of an award-winning series of picture book biographies, most recently Saladin: Noble Prince of Islam. She has written three well-received novels, Bella at Midnight, The Mysterious Matter of I. M. Fine, and A Time Apart. Ms. Stanley has also written and illustrated numerous picture books, including three creatively reimagined fairy tales: The Giant and the Beanstalk, Goldie and the Three Bears, and Rumpelstiltskin's Daughter. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2010

    Beautifully done!

    This is an absolutely beautifully illustrated book. My 2nd grader used it to prepare for her first oral book report and thought it was great. The book has a handy pronunciation guide that really helped her and she was able to get extra credit for using the French words she learned. We enjoyed the way the story was told and I was impressed with the level of detail and the number of facts that she was able to learn. She did such a great job on her book report that one of the third graders asked to borrow the book for her book report! We really loved the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2006

    Great book

    Joan of Arc was a young peasant girl when she started to hear voices. When Joan was working in a garden, she heard a voice. The voices told her that she was to perform a duty from God. She was to go to the King of France, Charles, and tell him that he was the rightful king of France. Diane Stanley writes a great non-fiction book. She tells the life of a young girl going through a really tough time period. Every page that is written about Joan of Arc has an illustration of what is happening to Joan of Arc during her lifetime. Not only does the reader get the facts about Joan of Arc, but they also get a visualization of what is going on. Stanley also writes about the life of Joan systematically. First, Stanley starts out with Joan being a mere peasant girl, to a girl who heard voices, to a girl who followed those voices, to a woman who took over an army, to her captivity, then to her demise. Though Joan of Arc¿s life span was short, Stanley creates the masterful image in the reader¿s mind of how wonderful and great Joan of Arc was to her country. If one were to read this book, they would be able to get great information on Joan of Arc.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2006

    An Authentic Biography

    The life of Joan of Arc is classified as a juvenile biography, however Diane Stanley writes in regards to historical facts, resources, and references. Much of what is written was derived from rich literature, and the personal transcript of Joan¿s trial in England, after they found her guilty of sorcery. Stanley adds personal quotes and those of others who lived among her in the Medieval Ages. Detailed illustrations encompass the time period and add personality to Joan of Arc¿s life story. Joan of Arc is clearly a person of bravery and courage. Young people can be inspired by her story and admire the positive effects and triumphant outcomes which have outlived her lifetime but still have an impressionable effect. Although the Catholic Church declared her a saint in 1920, there is some detail to her life that may forever remain mysterious. For example, it will never be known if she truly witnessed spiritual sightings who directed her to be a war leader. This information could be embellished stories passed along the way. Whatever the story may be, Stanley merely provides the reader with as much accurate information that she herself researched. Creditable references are listed in a bibliography and support the author¿s thoughts and motives for writing this biography. This allows for an exceptional read. Descriptive illustrations combined with characterizing text unfold throughout the story, fascinating the reader to learn more about the woman of admirable exploits. Overall the author¿s purpose in writing is to inform young people of a simple, peasant girl who became one of the most feared and respected historical leaders.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2001

    Great

    This book is so great it has had great reveiws has been on the booklist and many more. I'm a 5th grader at Brisas elementry and am doing biograph on her. she the best and so is this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2009

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