Cover image for To be a princess : the fascinating lives of real princesses
To be a princess : the fascinating lives of real princesses
Brewster, Hugh.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins, 2001.
Physical Description:
64 pages : illustrations (some color), portraits ; 28 cm
General Note:
"Madison Press book."
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 7.0 3.0 54789.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D107.5 .B74 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area-Biography
D107.5 .B74 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
D107.5 .B74 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
D107.5 .B74 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
D107.5 .B74 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Princesses live in splendid palaces with servants to grant their every wish.... Or do they? Here the stories of twelve real princesses reveal what life behind the palace walls is really like. "This night I think to die, declares Elizabeth Tudor as she shivers in the Tower of London in 1554. Her half sister, Queen Mary, sees her as a rival to the throne. But Elizabeth survives, and in four more years, she is queen. Two hundred years later, fourteen-year-old Marie Antoinette of Austria is told she will marry the heir to the French throne, whom she hasn't even met. She could never have imagined that the crowds who cheer her and her young husband will one day cry out for their blood. Princess Victoria is eleven when she learns she will someday become England's queen. Princess Ka'iulani of Hawai'i is told just the opposite. "You will never be queen," whispers her dying mother in an eerie prophecy For Anastasia and her three sisters, daughters of the Tsar of Russia, home is a beautiful palace surrounded by gardens and lakes. But war and revolution will shatter their sheltered world forever. The world will also change for Ayesha Devi, daughter of an Indian maharaja, and for Elizabeth and Margaret Rose, the two little princesses of 1930s' Great Britain. And they change with it, setting the style that is followed by the princesses of today. Throughout this handsome book, elegant portraits and period artifacts and photographs complement the story of each princess and recreate the worlds in which they lived. Together, the lives of these young royal women tell a story more fascinating than any fairy tale.

Author Notes

A longtime editor of books for both children and adults, Hugh Brewster is also the author of some acclaimed works for young readers. Born in London in 1950, Brewster was an editor for both Scholastic Books and Scholastic Canada before becoming editorial director for Madison Press Books in Toronto in 1984.

Brewster's book Anastasia's Album (1996), was about the youngest daughter of Nicholas II and Alexandra, the last tsar and tsarina of Russia, who were killed along with their children by Bolsheviks in 1918. Brewster researched the work in Moscow's state archive, where he found Anastasia's translated diaries and hand-colored letters among the papers and photo albums of the tsar's family.

Brewster has also written Inside the Titanic (1997), a lavishly illustrated book which uses the story of two young passengers to explore the doomed ocean liner.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4-8. Although aimed at a slightly older reader than the typical princess wanna-be, this lushly illustrated compendium of royal biographies will appeal to a fairly wide age range. Beginning with Mary and Elizabeth Tudor and ending with a page of contemporary royals, the book offers chapter-length portraits of some of the world's most-loved princesses, including Gayatri "Ayesha" Devi of India and Ka'siulaniof Hawaii. The authors have taken some fictional liberties, describing how their subjects felt, what they thought, etc., and a selected bibliography is the only documentation. But few books offer such a selection of subjects, and each vivid portrait will hook readers with its immediacy, rich detail, and history. Handsomely presented time lines follow each chapter, placing princesses' lives in the context of other world events. Well reproduced illustrations and original paintings by Laurie McGaw round out this fine-looking volume. Young readers who can't get enough about royalty will also like Brewster's excellent Anastasia's Album (1996). --Gillian Engberg

Publisher's Weekly Review

Hugh Brewster and Laurie Coulter tell true stories of 12 famous females in To Be a Princess: The Fascinating Lives of Real Princesses. Among them: Queen Victoria, who ascended the throne at age 13, and Hawaii's Princess Ka`iulani, whose mother on her death bed declared that Ka`iulani would never be queen. Laurie McGaw's regal oil portraits open each section. Period prints and photographs, timelines, a glossary, index and selected bibliography round out the volume. ( Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4 Up-Students and teachers alike will appreciate the research and literate style of this unusual approach to collective biography. The authors have chosen to focus on 12 royals-some well known, others more obscure-and to illustrate their public and personal lives. The book begins by exploring the rivalry between Queen Elizabeth I and her half sister, Mary Tudor. A later chapter is devoted to Hawaii's Princess Ka`iulani, who fought to keep her island nation independent, and who died tragically at age 24. Time lines place each princess in historical context, showing the national and world events happening during her era. Although the choice of royals doesn't exhibit a broad representation of nations (five of the princesses are from the British monarchy), the format works because of the informative artwork. Readers will want to study the color portraits that have been reproduced from museum collections. The authors offer meticulous credits for these and other illustrations, as well as a strong selected bibliography. However, because of this painstaking research, one wonders about the need for supplemental paintings by McGaw, used on the cover and throughout the work. Although they are beautiful, they serve to modernize the look of each princess. In a book as well documented as this, it seems that more can be learned from the original portraits than from stylized representations, but this criticism should not discourage purchase.-Barbara Buckley, Rockville Centre Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.