I mentioned last week that today’s children know a lot less about Mary, Queen of Scots than their parents or grandparents do. This is why Theresa Breslin wanted to write a picture book about Mary, to help children understand who she was and what happened to her, and why they should take an interest in Mary.
Also, as someone said last week, much in Mary’s life was unsuitable for younger readers, because it’s not as if she had a wonderful life. But the imprisonment of Mary, Queen of Scots in Lochleven Castle wasn’t too bleak, in comparison.
The book first gives the reader a very brief but thorough summary of who Mary was and what had happened to her, and her husbands, her son, her parents, and so on.
Then we find out what happened on that small island in Loch Leven, when Mary was desperate to escape and didn’t know how, and how a young boy came to the rescue and she got ut.
Unfortunately, her success didn’t last long, and the rest of her life was a bit downhill, especially after she asked her sister for help. But this short story helps both with understanding Mary’s life, as well as making her into a real person for that brief time at Lochleven Castle. We get to know her, so we learn to care.
This is a good way of making history relevant today.
The illustrations by Teresa Martinez make Scotland look glorious, and now I want to go and see Loch Leven.