Children's LiteratureCovering the period from roughly 1750 to 1790, this well-researched and well-written book about events leading to the coronation of King Louis XVI of France and his Queen, Marie Antoinette, the French Revolution and the eventual downfall of the king and queen are interesting reading. The book is beautifully illustrated with drawings and paintings of the period, which lend an air of authenticity to the text. Sadly, the paintings are not identified nor attributed. The second part of the book describes the social, cultural and economic life of France during this period. Peasant life, food and clothes, for instance, are described, providing the reader with a deeper context of the culture of the time. Part Three captures French life of the day in the words of the French. Writings of famous French people from art, literature and politics enlighten the reader, often reflecting relations with the newly formed United States. A glossary of French terms, a bibliography for further study, notes and an index are included. One in the "Rulers and Their Times" series. 2002, Benchmark Books, $28.50. Ages 10 to 14. Reviewer:Meredith Kiger
School Library JournalGr 5-8-This attractive book presents biographies of the famous monarchs; a discussion of the French Revolution, including everyday life; and writings from people of the era. The print is clear and readable, and there are many color reproductions and illustrations. Unfortunately, Plain's effort fails in the end because she tries to do too much. All three topics are slighted, and the material conveyed is superficial, barely skimming the surface and omitting much. The book is poorly organized, jumping from one subject to another and back again, and there are several errors. (Just one example: the dauphine is the dauphin's wife, not the female next in line to become queen as the glossary states.) Nothing is available for this age group solely on Louis and Marie-Antoinette. Adrian Gilbert's The French Revolution (Thomson, 1995) is thorough and detailed, and includes time lines, maps, and many visuals. Older readers can use Susan Banfield's skillfully written The Rights of Man, the Reign of Terror (HarperCollins, 1990), which creates word pictures of Louis and Marie-Antoinette that, in a few paragraphs, reveal more than Plain does in several chapters.-Ann W. Moore, Schenectady County Public Library, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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