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Book Review: Mary Tudor “Bloody Mary” by Gretchen Maurer and Peter Malone (illustrator)

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Mary Tudor “Bloody Mary” is a children’s picture book in the Thinking Girl’s Treasury of Dastardly Dames.

In many ways this is a historical account of the trials and tribulations of the clash between Catholics and Protestants in 15th-century England. At the start of the story, England appears predominantly Protestant. But having watched the devastating division between Protestants and Catholics first hand, and how it can really harm a person’s reputation and life, Mary decided to side with the Catholics. Mary felt tested by the Protestants in her teen years and early adulthood.

Gretchen Maurer does a splendid job of portraying one of Mary’s genuine wishes and prayers of ultimately become Queen of England. Ironically, Mary’s wish did come true. Everyone thought she was compassionate, brave, and truthful. She paved the way for future queens. She rebuilt Catholic universities and churches. She did so much good.

But did she deserve the name of “Bloody Mary”?  I will have to leave it to reader to decide for him/herself.

The illustrations are vivid and colourful. They illustrate what people wore, ate, and how they spent their time during the 15th century in England.  The story has educational value and will be very useful to school kids ages 9-13.

It is a wonderful read and an evocative story that most kids will be able to sink their teeth into. They will want to keep reading and re-reading the book over and over.

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