Appropriately for their audience, the authors only hint at the darker side of Elizabeth's reign. They include a simplified but accurate explanation of the English Reformation and its immediate consequences; a discussion of the Queen's political astuteness, its roots in her troubled childhood, and how she made being a woman an asset; a fair account of her vexed dealings with Mary, Queen of Scots; and illuminating details of interest to children--such as summers ""on progress,"" when Elizabeth escaped the plague and ""stopped in little villages. . .received humble gifts. . .and won the hearts of her people."" As in the authors' Peter the Great (1986), Stanley's carefully researched, beautifully detailed illustrations take up even more space than the text. Combining 20th-century realism with the decorative, more formal style of 16th-century painting, they add both drama and a visual sense of history. An admirably clear, attractive summary. Bibliography.