I would have liked this book a whole lot more if I knew nothing about Elizabeth I (Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII's daughter). Unfortunately, I have read a bunch of books about her and that made me knock off stars (YA readers, try Cate of the Lost Colony, adult readers try The Queen's Handmaiden).
Kathryn Lasky's Elizabeth is downright bubbly at times. She's chipper and cheerful and that's so NOT Elizabeth.
I know this is supposed to be a book about the young Elizabeth, but Elizabeth is noteworthy for being shrewd, calculating, and cautious even when she was young. Some tiny hints of these personality traits are sort of somewhat shown, but I think I was reading more into them because of what I know about Elizabeth.
But, this book isn't entirely without merit. Elizabeth might be off, but there were lots of little details thrown in that kept my interest and even taught me some new things. The basic plot progression also gives a nice overview of Elizabeth's early life. It's for these facts alone that I'm very glad I picked up Elizabeth's Royal Diaries installment.
Except, yeah, this is a diary book, and I don't love that format. I was frustrated by how many times Elizabeth talked about her diary—where she's going to hide it, how she's sorry she neglected it, oh my, someone almost discovered it, and so on. I really don't care about that stuff, especially since none of it is based on historical truth.
This is a good book for a younger reader newly interested in Elizabeth. Think, younger to middle grade readers. Her characterization may be historically off base, but she is approachable for younger readers and that might be a good thing.
Older readers already familiar with Elizabeth and looking for even more might still find something in this book. Given how short the book is (240 pages of diary-style, large font, short chapters writing), I'd say give it a shot.
On a side note, isn't that 2010 reprint cover (green dress) so much nicer than the original? (blue dress)
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