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A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver Paperback – October 1, 2001

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 068984624X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689846243
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Eleanor of Aquitaine is in Heaven, waiting to learn whether or not her second husband, King Henry II of England, will be able to join her. Henry had died even before Eleanor, but he still had not won admission into Heaven. Waiting with Eleanor are Henry's mother, Matilda-Empress, and William the Marshal. A chance encounter with Abbot Suger, an old friend of Eleanor's from the time of her first marriage, starts the four of them remembering times past. Each person in turn tells a part of Eleanor's life, vividly illustrating the excitement of living in twelfth-century England and France, and especially the excitement of being Eleanor. Wife of two kings, mother of two others, Richard the Lion Heart and John, she set the tone of court life for her times, sponsored poets and musicians, established the legend of King Arthur as a romantic feature of English literature, set the Rules of Courtly Love, and helped rule a kingdom that spanned from Scotland to the Pyrenees. And she did all this in a time when a king could keep his queen a prisoner -- and did!

This book is a novel, fiction, fantasy even. But everything in it about Eleanor and her family and her times is true. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

Eleanor of Aquitaine has every reason to be  upset.

For centuries she's been  patiently waiting for her husband, King Henry II, to  meet her in Heaven. Luckily, she's sharing a cloud  with some old friends who knew her when she and  Henry ruled supreme. As long as they're together, they  might as well gossip about old times--and soon all  of Eleanor's adventures in the Middle Ages spring  to life again.

Finally, just when  they're about to give up on Henry, Eleanor spots  three men floating toward them. After all this  time, could one of them be Henry? --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

E. L. Konigsburg is the only author to have won the Newbery Medal and be runner-up in the same year. In 1968 From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler won the Newbery Medal and Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth was named Newbery Honor Book. Almost thirty years later she won the Newbery Medal once again for The View From Saturday. She has also written and illustrated three picture books: Samuel Todd's Book of Great Colors, Samuel Todd's Book of Great Inventions, and Amy Elizabeth Explores Bloomingdale's. In 2000 she wrote Silent to the Bone, which was named a New York Times Notable Book and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, among many other honors.

After completing her degree at Carnegie Mellon University, Ms. Konigsburg did graduate work in organic chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh. For several years she taught science at a private girls' school. When the third of her three children started kindergarten, she began to write. She now lives on the beach in North Florida.

Customer Reviews

Eleanor of Aquitaine was a vivid, fascinating woman who lived and made a great deal of history.
This book is a great way to introduce any young person to some of the most interesting figures in Medeival history.
Cory LaFerriere
It turned out to be one of the best books in the Historical Fiction genre that I have ever read.
Bk Queen_21

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By '70s survivor on June 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
In college, during a summer session, I had to take a dreadful Medievel History class. The instructor sat on the desk and droned on for the entire class period. We each had to draw names and do a research paper on someone or something from that period. I drew the name of Eleanor of Aquitaine...never heard of her. For some reason, the library had quite a bit of information on her (they must have heard of her!). Besides reference book information, I found 2 historical novels on her. My goodness, WHAT A WOMAN!! She was the queen of both England and France, the mother of future kings of England and France. She was under house arrest for years. The life story of this woman could have been a college class in itself. My mother is a librarian in small town and I was telling her about my project. She said, "I think we just got a children's book in on her." It happened to be "A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Minerva." I went home to pick up the book and it was better and more informative than any of the college material I checked out. WHY hadn't any history teachers pointed out this facinating figure??? History could be so interesting if it were taught with an historical fiction reading list instead of textbooks. I have since traveled to Europe several times and just can't get enough of history. When I think of that dreadful history professor and what a horrible injustice he did to this period of time. However, he DID introduce me to Eleanor. And for that I will be forever grateful.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By C. Quinn on August 15, 2002
Format: Library Binding
I first read this book at least 15 years ago and have never forgotten it. This book and The Daughter of Time launched my ongoing love affair with British history. After reading this book, I was so inspired that I dressed as Eleanor of Aquitaine for Halloween; I was shocked and astonished to discover that she was far from a household name and I spent my entire evening of trick-or-treating explaining my costume. If more books for children were as historically accurate and entertaining as is Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver, I think more people would have recognized and appreciated my costume. E.L. Konigsburg writes some of the best children's books I've ever read and they stand the test of time- I enjoy reading them now as much as I did then. By writing about an often ignored yet fascinating woman, Konisburg opened my eyes to a range of historical characters usually excluded in traditional history books. I highly recommend this book for any child, but especially for young girls who are looking for more female characters to shape their understanding of world history.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Nunya Business on July 31, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is easily one of the best, if not the best, historical novels I've ever had the pleasure of reading. I first read it when I was maybe ten or twelve years old. I absolutely loved it! I read it five or six times over in the space of about a month. Reading this novel, I always felt like a part of the colorful medieval world created by Konigsburg. Every time I finished the book I had to immediately restart it; I couldn't stand not being part of that world anymore. I'm quite sure this book is at least partly responsible for the shelf full of history books in the corner of my bedroom. I'm a wee bit older now, nearly eighteen, but the medieval world introduced to me by _Scarlet and Miniver_ still interests me as much as it did when I finished the book for the first time. It truly left a lasting impression with me.
P.S. - to the people who dislike or don't understand the title - "Scarlet" is a bright red, and "miniver" is white or light gray fur that was used as trim for royal or ceremonial robes. The name fits the book perfectly, because it sums up the passion Eleanor of Aquitaine had for vibrant colors and rich surroundings, things that set her apart from the dutiful, dull persons surrounding her throughout much of the book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
If this is historical, it is hysterical: give me more! What a delightful presentation of what is usually dry, historical fact. This book is the perfect vehicle to introduce middle school students to the Middle Ages, where human nature is revealed at its worst (just like nowadays). Let's hear it for the start of the Women's Movement --centuries before Elizabeth I. Between the covers of this literary gem is related the life of a determined, capable and ambitious woman--Eleanor of Aquitaine. The four sections are narrated Canterbury Tales style by different characters: Abbot Suger, Empress Matidla, William the Marshall, and Eleanor (the Incorrigible) who lived to be 80, herself.
These first-person tales are interspersed with witty conversatons on a cloud in Heaven, as the speakers reminisce while awaiting the iffy arrival of King Henry II. It seems that his earthly career requires the skill of many lawyers to argue his case--a breed which is not plentiful in Heaven....But for Eleanor Waiting itself is Purgatory, since she is a woman of decisive action. Still as we eavesdrop on their frank discussions, we enjoy many chuckles and glean much information about the life and tumultuous times of this extraordinary woman.
After so many centuries, will Henry finally make it Up? This is the monarch who loved then mourned Thomas a BECKET; the king who sired Richard the Lion Heart, as well as that much-despised creep, evil Prince John (who got his royal come-uppance at Runnymede). We learn about Eleanor's considerable improvements, courtly embellishments and Crusader importations in order to "civilize" both England and France. Of course there is nothing like royal famlily squabbles (The Lion in Winter) to keep us glued to the pages!
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