Monday, April 18, 2016

Spring Reading 2016 If You Were Me and Lived in Elizabethan England


Carole just keeps expanding on her ideas for her "If You Were Me"series - both in modern countries around the world, and now also in historical periods. Young readers will enjoy hearing tidbits like the explanation for the phrase, "raining cats and dogs," or learning that boys dressed in skirts like their sisters until they were old enough to get breeches. Other things like the difference in the diets of peasants and nobles will be a surprise that will probably elicit comments about unfairness (although they probably wouldn't want to eat blackbirds or pigeons). The idea that chocolate was only used as as a medicine and wasn't sweet could take a little explanation, since most children think all chocolate tastes like milk chocolate candy. And I can just imagine their faces when they learn that female roles in plays were done by male actors and women weren't allowed to perform on the stage.

While the text shares information about aspects of life during the time of Queen Elizabeth, the illustrations show the clothing, the cobblestones, and other visual details of the period. Children will probably remark that the lower class workers look like Pilgrims, and will be amused to see the men in knee breeches and stockings. Points like having to pay for school and only one child out of a family of commoners being able to attend due to the cost (and then only boys, not girls), will emphasize how much things have changed over time. There are biographical sketches of famous people from the period in the back matter, as well as a lengthy glossary of terms. This book is sure to be a conversation starter and may begin some youngster's love affair with history as he or she becomes fascinated with all the differences between life then and now.

I received a copy from the author for review purposes.

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