I bought this book for an eight year old with a healthy interest in history and the entire list of all these monarchs already lodged in her head, thanks to that superb song featured in 'Horrible Histories'. It is a thoroughly entertaining and humorous read and has proved very popular with every adult who has so far found themselves flicking through its pages. Oh, and with her of course. That's probably more important I suppose, isn't it?
The illustrations are great and help to really distinguish each monarch from his/her colleagues. The writing style too gives each of these characters a distinct personality in the thoughts of the reader. With that in mind though, I do have a big problem with a couple of aspects of the entry on Richard the Third. Indeed, as far as my review is concerned, the book loses a star because of it. First of all, it is stated quite categorically that Richard had his nephews 'murdered'. Maybe he did and maybe he didn't, but nothing has ever been 'proved' so far as I am aware. Actually, the writing itself acknowledges that there was no proof of his guilt, but blows its big chance of offering a balanced view of things by then continuing, '... the evidence against him was very strong and most people believe he was to blame.' Do they? Oh well - that's all right then.
Even more disturbing than that is the manner in which Richard's 'hump' seems to be emphasised in the accompanying illustration. Fair enough, the discovery of his skeleton has proved that he suffered from curvature of the spine... but that's a far cry from making him look like Inspector Clouseau as he floats over the rooftops in 'The Pink Panther Strikes Again'. Where would Richard have got an inflatable 'Hunchback Disguise Kit' from in the 15th Century anyway, that's what I'd like to know.