________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 9 . . . . January 4, 2002

cover Growing Up Royal: Life in the Shadow of the British Throne.

Jane Billinghurst.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2001.
154 pp., pbk. & cl., $15.95 (pbk.), $22.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55037-622-5 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55037-623-3 (cl.).

Subject Heading:
Kings and rulers-Children-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Helen Norrie.

**** /4


When you are born into a royal family, you can expect an enthusiastic reception. The birth of a new child is a time for rejoicing in any family; children are especially important in royal families because they are the only way to continue the family tradition of ruling the country. Even if your parents don't go quite as far as the grandfather of the current king of Spain, who presented his newborn daughter to then-king Alfonso XIII on a silver platter, they will be very happy that you have arrived.

Growing Up Royal is a refreshing change from most adult royal biographies, which are often tediously correct or suspiciously censorious. Instead, Saskatoon author Jane Billinghurst immediately engages her readers by putting them in the situation of the royal offspring. For example:

"Because you are a royal child, your parents will likely not be able to spend much time with you. Their schedules will have been booked up to a year in advance."


"What kind of interests would it be useful for you to cultivate if you are thinking of becoming a member of a royal family? A love of animals would definitely be an asset."

     Using this personal and humorous approach, the author is able to introduce plenty of information about royal families (especially in Britain, but with brief comparisons to other European royalty) and still keep the reader feeling personally involved. She also includes plenty of anectdotes showing the lighter and more human side of growing up royal, such as kick-the-can games in the corridors of Buckingham Palace or tobogganing down staircases on tea trays in the Spencer family mansion.

     Sidebars contain a considerable amount of useful information on everything from royal residences to correct titles for palace servants. There are also two eight pages sections of colour photos plus an appendix giving the names and situation of members of ten European royal families.

     Suitable for grades four and up, this book could well be popular with older students, especially as it contains extra information on popular Prince William, the latest royal heart-throb. Subtitled. Life in the Shadow of the British Throne, this is a lively and entertaining account of what it is like to be born royal.

Highly Recommended.

Helen Norrie, a former teacher-librarian is the children's book reviewer for the Winnipeg Free Press and an instructor in Children's Literature at the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba..

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364