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Children's LiteratureThe small volumes in this "Daily Life" series focus on daily living experiences throughout history. This entry explores both rich and poor classes in the Italian Renaissance. The book is written and organized like a textbook but there are more interesting bits of information than lists of dates and rulers. The chapter on social order in the Renaissance offers good material for class discussion, since young readers learn that a woman's place depended on whether she was single, married or widowed, and wealthier people were judged by their appearance. And even in 1584, a book called Secrets was full of ideas and recipes for women to stay young-looking. The book is illustrated with period art, so it would have been helpful to have more discussion of the Renaissance style, especially the attention to detail and the practice of painting children to look like miniature adults. There are lots of interesting facts but also occasions when not quite enough questions are answered: Who were the three French kings born to Catherine de Médici? What are the different crafts represented by the guild emblems in one interesting illustration? What signaled the end of the Italian Renaissance in 1600? A good variety of famous and lesser known "leading lights" is introduced, including Isabella de'Este (a patron of the arts), Cicero, Petrarch, Michelangelo and, of course, Leonardo da Vinci. Each chapter has footnotes at the back along with a glossary, resources for further exploration and an index. The series will work well for research or for period comparisons and class discussions. 2004, KidHaven Press, Ages 10 to 15.