Good Queen Bess: The Story of Elizabeth I of England



Stanley, Diane, and Peter Vennema. Good Queen Bess: The Story of Elizabeth I of England. Harper 1990. 40pp. Lexile 1060.

Striking illustrations fill this short biography of one of the most famous monarchs in history. Elizabeth I, who was Queen of England for more than forty-four years, took the throne when she was twenty-five. Under her influence, theater and other arts flourished, including the work of William Shakespeare. She never married, instead preserving her power and autonomy. As Stanley writes, "She made her own decisions, and she expected to be obeyed."  When the Spanish Armada tried unsuccessfully to conquer England and convert it to Catholicism, Elizabeth won her soldiers' hearts by riding through their ranks in steel armor, brandishing a sword, as shown in one of the gouache illustrations.  The jewel-like tones and intricate details of the pictures convey Elizabeth's personality and the glamor of her court.

Writing Std #4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.  Since this is forty pages, half of which are illustrations, it would serve as an excellent model for biographical writing.  The authors pack a lot of information gracefully into a relatively short text. 

Nonfiction Tie-in: This would pair well with the authors' Bard of Avon: The Story of William Shakespeare, which is similarly beautiful and engaging.  Other biographies with similar formats by the same authors include Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, and Peter the Great