MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS by Kathryn Lasky


Queen Without a Country
Age Range: 9 - 14
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In keeping with the theme of the Royal Diaries Series, one year in the life of young Mary Stuart is told as if she had kept a journal. The historical detail rings true: Mary’s coronation as Queen of Scotland as an infant; her betrothal at age five to the Dauphin of France in a geopolitical effort to foil the British; her upbringing in the French court under the care of Henry II and Catherine de Medici. But it is the personal details that will keep readers’ attention. Lasky (Mommy’s Hands, p. 416, etc.) portrays a queen who is well aware of her power and position at age 11, yet experiences universal emotions more typical of her age: a longing for love and friendship; joy in fancy clothes and dances; a desire to be respected and “grown-up,” coupled with the urge to remain childlike. Mary’s yearning for her mother back in Scotland and for her homeland itself are heartbreaking, but her goodhearted intentions toward her attendants, affection toward her future husband, efforts to be ready for First Communion, perceptive comments about the other members of the French court, and her assurance that even at 11 she must conduct herself as a queen make this year in her life more inspiring than sad. An epilogue, historical note, and annotated family tree put the events in perspective and reveal the unfortunate ending to Mary’s life: she was beheaded as a rival to the English throne at age 45. Mary, Queen of Scots remains a beloved figure to history buffs; this enjoyable and approachable account should serve as a springboard for further inquiry for today’s readers. (Historical fiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-439-19404-0
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2002


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