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Lethal: Mary Tudor, Courageous Queen or…

Lethal: Mary Tudor, Courageous Queen or Bloody Mary?

by Jane Buchanan

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Mary Tudor grew up with no parents. When Mary was a little girl her parents got divorced, and from there it was all down hill. It started with the messiest divorce in history. Her beloved father disowned her and her half brother took her throne and attacked her religious faith. As Mary got older she became the first queen of England, and when she took over, she ruled with vengeance. The was so convinced that god was on her side that she lashed out at religious dissidents. She made people all across England live in fear. She had more people executed than any other English ruler, and many of them were burned at the stake.

I thought that this book was very disturbing. Besides all of the bad and gross thing that Mary did to people, I felt somewhat bad for her. Imagine your life without parents and a half brother who stole your throne. That took away her entire planned future. Once she became Queen of England, she realized that she is following a different dream. What she did to people was so unnecessary in my opinion though. If someone disobeys you, you have a reason to be cruel as Queen. When no one does anything wrong or disrespectful, she has no right to torture them, never mind burn them! Overall, I think that this book was disturbing and I do not recommend reading it.
1 vote br14elmo | Nov 1, 2013 |
This installment of the “A Wicked History” series from Scholastic focuses on Mary Tudor, the first Queen of England, known throughout history as “Bloody Mary”. The book reads in short chapters telling the story of Mary’s life in chronological order. Readers interested in the time period or needing to study this era will enjoy the glossary, index and bibliography. The illustrations and map also help bring the time period to life for the reader. This installment of the series tells the history of Mary in an easy-to-follow way that pulls in reluctant readers with blood splattered pages and helpful descriptions. A good choice for use in the classroom or for personal interest. ( )
1 vote shookrl | Oct 15, 2012 |
Series Biography MS (A Wicked History)

Buchanan, J. (2008). Mary Tudor: courageous queen or Bloody Mary? New York: Scholastic.

This biography is separated into three main parts: her childhood, her exiled years, and her years as queen of England. Part one begins with Mary Tudor’s childhood and education. It explains the political/religious climate of England as she gets older and explains the conflicts that grow between her mother and father. In part two, Mary is exiled and denied the title of princess because of her father’s divorce from her mother. Her father goes through several marriages and has two other children before he finally dies. Mary’s half-brother, Prince Edward becomes king until his death at the age of thirteen. Mary is now the first Queen of England. Part three describes Mary’s reign. She fought to keep the Catholic church as the main religion in England and killed any Protestants that went against Mary’s beliefs. During her time of rule, Mary had over 300 Protestants killed, mostly burned at the stake, for heresy.
This biography makes it very clear why Mary Tudor was thought to be a wicked queen, but it also brings up many points that show her kind side. The pictures, captions, and red ink draw in reluctant readers. The timeline and glossary make it easy for readers to reference for clarification. It is an enjoyable read that will influence readers to pick up another “A Wicked History” biography. Grades 6-8. ( )
1 vote MsLangdon | Nov 13, 2010 |
Scholastic's "Wicked History" series is a wonderful idea that actually works in execution. The books are small, short paperbacks intended for middle school aged children, but that can be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in history. Each book takes an historical figure, usually infamous or nefarious, and gives a brief history. The work is enriched with the use of maps, a "web" of actors (genealogy and key figures in that person's life) and historical pictures or drawings. The font size is also larger than standard, for younger readers.

Here, we get a glimpse into the life of Mary Tudor, nicknamed "Bloody Mary" for the nearly 300 protestants she had burned during her short reign as queen. In fact, the book opens with one such burning, a dramatic way to draw a reader in. However, there was more to her than that and this book tries to give a more balanced look at a much maligned figure. How she went from cherished, pampered daughter to exiled bastard.

These are not intended for history buffs/people highly familiar with the subject. They are more like an expanded, enriched encyclopedia entry. Great for hooking a child's interest, and then literally offering sources at the end of where to go for more information. I was especially impressed that they do not only list scholarly books, but also websites. Overall, a great idea and I intend to continue with the series. Many of the figures I know absolutely nothing about, and a little but of history would be welcome. ( )
1 vote jshillingford | Jul 27, 2010 |
Another installment of the rather fun Wicked History Scholastic series, this one concentrates on the infamous queen, Mary Tudor. Although I completely disagree with Bloody Mary's religious ethics I found the story of her childhood through death interesting.

Brought up as a cosseted and only surviving child of King Henry the VIII and Lady Catherine of Aragon, both Mary and her mother were ultimately thrown over for the deservingly ill-fated Anne Boleyn and a parade of subsequent wives. However, any sympathy I might have had for Mary flew right out the window when she eventually became the queen after the death of her half-brother and began a series of executions (burnings at the stake) of heretics that ultimately totaled 300 victims. It was nice to learn that after her rule her half-sister became a much better and more sympathetic queen.

The writing of this biography was smooth and easy to stay with. There weren't quite as many aside excerpts in this book as in the other two Wicked Histories I've read and though I did find them interesting, they really did break up the narrative and I kind of liked this set up a bit better. The bibliography at the end wasn't overwhelming and I think would be useful for students looking for more information about this monarch. Overall this was a quick and informative read and I'll most likely continue to read more volumes of this series. ( )
  Jenson_AKA_DL | Mar 13, 2009 |
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Learn about the first ruling queen of England.

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