Cover image for Peter the Great
Peter the Great
Stanley, Diane.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Morrow Junior Books, 1999.
Physical Description:
32 pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
A biography of the tsar who began the transformation of Russia into a modern state in the late seventeenth-early eighteenth centuries.
General Note:
Reprint. Originally published: New York : Four Winds Press, c1986.
Reading Level:
850 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC 3-5 4.5 3 Quiz: 09016.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DK131 .S78 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area-Biography

On Order



Peter the Great, crowned tsar of Russia at the age of ten, believed that whatever he wanted he should have -- and the sooner the better. What he wanted most was to bring his beloved country into the modem world. He traveled to the West to learn European ways -- the first tsar ever to leave Russia -- disguised as a common soldier.

He explored the West with excitement and curiosity and returned home ready to undertake a series of momentous social reforms. And to satisfy his boyhood dream of a Russian naval port, he began to build, on a freezing swamp, a glittering new capital to be named St. Petersburg.

In this welcome reissue of Diane Stanley's acclaimed picturebook biography, her meticulously researched text and sumptuous illustrations capture the fabulous world of seventeenth -- and eighteenth-century tsarist Russia and the greatness of its larger-than-life leader -- a man of huge stature and tremendous spirit whose impatience and vision, insatiable curiosity and boundless energy transformed half a continent.

Author Notes

Diane Stanley was born in 1943 and was raised in Abilene, Texas. She later attended both Trinity University and Johns Hopkins University.

Her portfolio of children's book illustrations was creative enough for her to begin publication in 1978. She became an art director for G.P. Putnam & Sons and later began retelling and illustrating classic children's books.

Stanley has revamped the fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin's Daughter and has also researched the children's biographies Cleopatra and Leonardo Da Vinci. She also illustrated her mother's book, The Last Princess.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 4-6. Jean Fritz led the way with accessible biographies for children. Now, Stanley follows firmly in the tradition with her handsome full-color paintings an added bonus. She captures readers' attention right from the start as she describes how Peter, at age 13, would startle the countryside by playing war games. Much of the focus is on Peter as a young boy when the luxury that accompanied his station is juxtaposed with a compelling belief that honors in life should be earned. In simple yet graceful language, Peter's effort to modernize Russia and bring it closer to Europe is carefully described as is the controversy surrounding many of his social reforms. On every page are full-color pictures reminiscent of a primitive style, rendered in gouache. The captivating artwork, which features both Oriental and European elements, demands a second and third look. Stanley's thorough research is evident in her source list at the book's beginning. The genre will profit if this is just the first of her forays into biography. IC. 947'.05 (B) Peter I, Emperor of Russia / Kings, queens, rulers, etc. / Soviet Union History Peter I [CIP] 85-13060

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4 This profusely illustrated biography has a moderate amount of good-sized text and at least one illustration on every two-page spread. Stanley's fine illustrations of Tsar Peter and his Russia are vivid and uncluttered, yet still give a sense of the ornate formality of the royal surroundings and attire. That Stanley concentrates on the extraordinary achievements of Peter the Great is not surprising, but the omission of some basic biographical data is a problem. Peter's ascent to the throne is presented as without difficulty, when it was actually a struggle for power among Peter, his half-brother Ivan, and his half-sister Sophia. The bitter upheavals caused by Peter's attempt to reform the church and limit its influence is reduced to the Tsar taxing long beards at court; his desire to establish Russia as a seapower is based on a pleasant sailing experience, instead of the military defeat at Azov that made Peter acknowledge his nation's lack of adequate sea vessels and ports. Peter's accomplishments are highlighted, while the measures he took to achieve such sweeping reforms are given scant attention. IncidentsPeter's childhood, his love of sailing, traveling across Europe in disguiseare described in an effort to make this complex historical figure accessible to the primary/middle grade age group, and in this Stanley is successful. A more balanced portrayalwith Peter the Great as less a saint of progress and more the ambitious ruleris yet to come. Janice M. Del Negro, Chicago Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.