Louis XIV, like Henry VIII, seems to defy juvenile biographers. Perhaps the near paranoid state of mind produced by being absolute monarch cannot be reduced to the simplistic chronology and partisan explanation mode that obtains in this form for this level. Of course, ersatz dialogue doesn't help. It's bad enough when it's cast as historic conversation, gets worse when it is written up as ""thoughts,"" but here it floats right into Louis' confessional and we are even made privy to one of his silent prayers. Louis XIV, according to the adult scholars who have written of him, was a fantastic, instinctive master psychologist. Mr. Apsler misses this while emphasizing his garnering of power. The inevitability of his descent into mediocrity during his last years is traced and mentioned but its tragedy, and the tragic loneliness of a man who had to do everything, starting from dressing in the morning, in public, is never strongly apparent. No, Louis XIV is not for children and that's strangely comforting in a season that has produced three serious books on the teenager's right to sexual fulfillment. Speaking of which, Louis' arrangements are handled with dignity. There is a timetable of the events in his life and an unannotated bibliography of doubtful value and limited availability.