This begins with Eleanor of Acquitaine in heaven waiting for the arrival of her second husband, and thus has two strikes against it from the start: it is yet another Plantagenet family chronicle and tries to wrest humor from human bitchiness transplanted into a wholly mundane celestial kingdom. Nevertheless, Eleanor, who characteristically hopes that Henry will be as bored by heaven as she is, redeems herself through the sheer force of her wit and enthusiasm for life. Each of the Queen's heavenly spokesmen -- the Abbot Surer, Queen Matilda and William Marshall -- draw forth Eleanor's pungent memories: there's the affair of Thomas Becket ("If he were a cow he would have spurted pure cream"), Eleanor's efforts to mold her favorite son Richard into a proper king ("He ought to learn [English] though. . . . It has a great assortment of four-letter words") and her unbending prejudice against Henry's protege John ("Snot and sinew! There is no bone there to hang a crown on"). Viewing Eleanor as a "modern" heroine doesn't make for a very subtle appreciation of the woman or her times, but it does create a sparkling framework for the old story in which John is the villain and Eleanor and Henry's love affair survives perversely through her fifteen years of imprisonment. Having chosen to retain 67 of her years through eternity Eleanor looks back on a full life without regrets; much of the credit for her salvation must go to Konigsberg's diffuse but energetic delight in words -- a quality so rare in juvenile literature that even Henry's arrival on the arms of Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln can be forgiven.