24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2006
Once again, Diane Stanley has brought intriguing facts and interesting tidbits to a book about a well known character, Joan of Arc, which makes the reader interested and excited about the subject, no matter what age he or she might be. Joan was born an illiterate, peasant daughter of a leader in a French village during the time of the Hundred Years War between France and England. She was highly disciplined in Catholicism, and was often teased about it by her friends. At the age of thirteen, Joan began having visions, while in the family garden, of various Catholic Saints giving her distressing messages and that she needed to act in order to save the French Kingdom. Joan was so convinced and moved by these visions that she took on a life long task of saving the French kingdom, although a woman doing this would have been unheard of at the time. She was eventually captured by the Burgundies that occupied Northern France and handed over to the English for a ransom. She was put on trial by the church for dressing in men's clothing and for acting on her voices and visitations which should have only been heard by members of the clergy. She was found guilty, although she gave clever testimony and was not easily disrupted by tricky questioning, and eventually burned at the stake. Charles, the ruler that Joan help restore to the crown, made it his personal mission to have Joan's trial declared a mistrial sixteen years after her death. This act fueled by his guilt for not negotiating for her release from prison helped her to be declared a saint five hundred years later.
This book helps the reader realize that although Joan my have appeared unstable with her visions in modern times, she brought hope and life to a battle that was hopeless leaving many French residents in despair. A note at the end of the book indicates that there have been three theories behind Joan's visions, depending on where one's personal beliefs lie.
Included within the book are pronunciations of French names and places and a map, so the reader can follow the path taken by Joan. This book provides interesting and understandable information for readers of all ages, including adults that want a short but informative look into Joan of Arc's life.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2001
This is a beautiful book that I purchased for a seven year old girl. I am a medievalist and the depictions in this book of the clothing, etc. are true to fact. The next copy I buy will be for myself as I collect good children's books on medieval times. Every year I publish of list of children's book on this time period that I recommend in our group's newsletter and this book is high on the list.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2011
This book is well-done, but Joan's story is depressing. Diane Stanley does a great job with the illustrations, making them look like medieval tapestries. Many times, it is difficult to tell which illustrated person is Joan (which does mimic the style of the times).
The author explains how Joan (and her followers) could possibly believe she had been visited by angels -- and believe in this enough to take action on it.
After the king was crowned, he granted Joan her only request: to exempt her hometown from taxes forever.
The illustration for the page where Joan is burned at the stake is mostly rooftops and crowds -- smoke from the chimney helps disguise the smoke from the stake. Not too terrifying, Moms.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2001
Not only was this an accurate portrayal of Joan of Arc's story, it was wonderfully written and illustrated. I would recommend it for anyone who is starting out in learning of the saint. It is educational and enjoyable for a child.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2002
A beautiful book! Diane Stanley carefully traces the life of Joan from her humble beginnings to her tragic end. The book even comes with a pronunciation guide to help those of us who haven't been to France. Although the language is at 8+ year old range, my 5 year old daughter loves it anyway!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2008
Diane Stanley, author of a series of high-quality biographies for children, does it again: Joan of Arc is intelligent and interesting with eye-popping illustrations. Of course the story is tragic, so this is not a good first biography for the young, tender-hearted child. The only thing missing is a real sense of the supernatural, what drove Joan to do what she did in the first place. If you're looking for the miraculous in your retelling of Joan's story, choose instead Josephine Poole's breathtaking "Joan of Arc."
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
My son asked me if there had been any female knights. I thought of Joan of Arc and ordered this book. He was 5 at the time I purchased it and it held his interest all the way through. The illustrations were beautiful and there was just the right level of information / detail. There were some spots where it was tough for me, as I was reading it aloud, to keep track of the timing as far as how many years this was all taking place through, but I think for the intended audience, that is fine, and we can delve further into it with more mature works as the kids get older. All in all, an excellent introduction to Joan of Arc.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2000
My 8 year old daughter devoured this book in one sitting, which is amazing considering that she hardly ever reads non-fiction. (She was not pleased at the not-so-happy ending, however!)
on February 24, 2015
So far my daughter and I have read three picture book biographies on Joan of Arc and this one was by far the best. The narrative is written in an absorbing and easy to follow way that is perfect for middle school students covering the Middle Ages in their social studies class, or just for an exciting read. The only problem I have with this book, and other similarly lengthy picture books biographies, is that it should have been written in a small chapter book format instead. Many students (and often adults) doubt the quality of material covered in a picture book and overlook them for the wonderful source of information that they are.
on September 22, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
We finished this book for our level 2 Ambleside home school class and I thought it was an appropriate amount of information about Joan for the grade level of my child. Pictures were nice on each page and gave us a brief glimpse into the life of Joan of Arc. The tragic ending was hard to read about, but I think it was a great sound board for discussion about our faith and what we are willing to do to stand for what we believe in.