When The Raucous Royals arrived in the mail, it was immediately intercepted by my 11-year-old daughter, and I didn't even get a chance to flip through the pages until the next day. Subtitled Test Your Royal Wits: Crack Codes, Solve Mysteries, and Deduce which Royal Rumors are True, this book for middle readers by Carlyn Beccia enthralled my daughter.
I should mention that my daughter doesn't particularly enjoy history in general, but Beccia has hit upon the perfect antidote for kids who tend to turn up their noses at history books: weird and disturbing rumors about famous people.
These famous people all happen to be royalty with hundreds of years of rumors following them. Who hasn't heard that Napoleon was short or that King Louis XIV only bathed three times in his life? We are told—or read— these things at some point in our lives and assume they are true. Who would make up such things?
Beccia serves up a dose of reality in this book. She lays out the rumor, presents the facts, and then encourages the reader to draw his/her own conclusions based on the evidence. Her illustrations are fabulous and her text funny and very readable. There is nothing dry about this history book.
I've got more to say about The Raucous Royals, including an interview with Carlyn Beccia, coming up tomorrow. Until then, you may want to check out some of the other stops at the tour!
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