The lacemaker and the princess

Author Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker.
Language English
Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry $16.99., 2007


In 1788, eleven-year-old Isabelle, living with her lacemaker grandmother and mother near the palace of Versailles, becomes close friends with Marie Antoinette's daughter, Princess Therese, and finds their relationship complicated not only by their different social class but by the growing political unrest and resentment of the French people.

Subjects :

  • Lace and lace making
  • Juvenile fiction
  • Friendship
  • Fiction
  • Lace makers
  • Princesses

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Author Illustrator(s) :

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Best Books :

  • Best Children's Books of the Year, 2008 Bank Street College of Education
  • Middle and Junior High Schoool Library Catalog, Ninth Edition Supplement 2008, 2008 H.W. Wilson Company

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State & Provincial Reading List :

  • Great Stone Face Award, 2008-2009; Nominee New Hampshire
  • Land of Enchantment Book Award, 2009-2010; Nominee New Mexico
  • Pennsylvania Young Readers' Choice Award, 2008-2009; Nominee Pennsylvania

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Reading Measurement Programs:

Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York:) 2007.

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Middle Grade
Book Level 4.3
Accelerated Reader Points 7

Lexile, MetaMetrics, Inc.

Lexile Measure 630
Accelerated Reader Points

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level 6-8
Reading Level 3
Accelerated Reader Points 14

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Reviews :

Nicole Peterson (Children's Literature)
Have you ever wondered what life was like during the French Revolution? Any life back then would depend on the amount of wealth the person had. The common citizen led a difficult and deprived life full of want and hunger. Those in the royal courts were well fed and enjoyed luxuries and extravagances and a lifestyle that were opulent and lavish. This novel is the story of a common lace maker who was raised as royalty because of her friendship with the king’s daughter. Although the main character in the story is completely fictional, the story is based on a friendship between the daughter of a chambermaid and bailiff, and Marie-Therese, who was the Royal Princess. This story is captivating and educational. The story ends before any of the Royal Family are killed. The “Author’s Note” at the end of the book describes what happens to each of the main characters in the story. 2007, Margaret K. McElderry/Simon & Schuster, $16.99. Ages 12 to 16.
(PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York:), PUBLISHED: c2007.)

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2007 (Vol. 75, No. 9))
A lively historical novel about a young lacemaker at Versailles just before the French Revolution. Eleven-year-old Isabelle makes lace like her mother and grandmother. Bringing lace to the palace at Versailles allows her to be seen by the beautiful Queen, Marie Antoinette, who invites her to become companion to the queen's daughter Thérèse. Isabelle then lives a split existence, frantically making lace with her struggling family in the mornings and then dressed in fine clothes and spending the afternoon with Thérèse and her companion, Ernestine. Isabelle's brother George works in the Marquis de Lafayette's stables; he tries to open Isabelle's eyes to the desperate state of the populace; Isabelle, in turn, tries to explain to Thérèse that not everyone lives like a princess. The excesses (and odors) of the French court are seen through Isabelle's perceptions in this first-person narrative full of description and intriguing insight into the period. Endnotes explain that Ernestine actually did live at Versailles as companion to Thèrése, though many of the other characters in the story are fictitious. Fascinating. 2007, McElderry, 208p, $16.99. Category: Historical fiction. Ages 10 to 14. © 2007 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
(PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York:), PUBLISHED: c2007.)

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
Bradley (For Freedom\n) gives readers a glimpse of the overwhelming poverty the French people suffered before the French Revolution and juxtaposes it with the luxuries enjoyed by their royals. Eleven-year-old Isabelle lives with her mother and grand-mère in poverty, eking out a meager living by making lace; her older brother, George, supplies a few coins from his job as a palace stable hand. One day, Isabelle delivers a piece of lace intended for the Princess of Lamballe and literally runs into Queen Marie Antoinette. She is introduced to Princess Thérèse, who desires Isabelle to be her playmate, thus beginning a somewhat odd friendship and Isabelle's dual life. In the morning she helps her mother and grand-mère make lace; in the afternoon she lives a fairy-tale life. As Isabelle becomes more involved with palace life, George forces her to see the growing unrest caused by the king and queen's lavish spending and scant regard for the peasants. Fans of historical fiction will enjoy the numerous details about Louis, Marie Antoinette and Versailles that are neatly woven into the story and will be further be drawn into Isabelle's adventure as she flees the palace as it is attacked by angry peasants, thus ushering in the French Revolution. Ages 8-12. (May)\n"
(PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York:), PUBLISHED: c2007.)

Ann Bullion-Mears (The Lorgnette - Heart of Texas Reviews (Vol. 20, No. 1))
The year is 1788; the place is the Versailles Palace in France. Imagine an eleven-year-old working class girl, a lacemaker, who becomes a playmate and friend to the nine-year-old Princess Royal, the daughter of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, and you have the premise for Kimberly Brubaker Bradley’s THE LACEMAKER AND THE PRINCESS. As fantastic as it sounds, the story is based on a similar historic friendship. Bradley uses this friendship to investigate the rights and wrongs of the French political situation just before and during the first years of the French Revolution. Isabelle, the young lacemaker, lives a life constantly on the edge of hunger and privation, while Princess Therese has almost anything she could want. Isabelle sees the soft side of Marie Antoinette and has trouble reconciling the woman she knows with the villainess of popular imagination. The story is replete with details of life in 18th century France, both royal and working class. Bradley conveys an understanding of both sides of what becomes a regicidal encounter as she shows how Isabelle is torn between the needs of her family and her fears for her friends. The historical figures are presented as human beings with strengths and weaknesses. As the story ends, Bradley clearly depicts the radical changes in Isabelle’s life. In the concluding Author’s Note, Bradley discusses the historical and fictional aspects of the story and traces the lifespan of most of the book’s historical figures. Fiction. Grades 6-8. 2007, McElderry Books, 199p., $16.99. Ages 11 to 14.
(PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York:), PUBLISHED: c2007.)

Gillian Engberg (Booklist, Apr. 15, 2007 (Vol. 103, No. 16))
Eleven-year-old Isabelle, a third-generation lace maker, is making her first delivery to the Palace of Versailles when she is nearly trampled by a crowd. Astonishingly, it's Marie Antoinette who rescues her, and the queen invites Isabelle to meet Princess Marie-Therese, who chooses Isabelle to be her friend. So begins Isabelle's double life--a lace maker in the morning and royal companion in the afternoon. As the French Revolution brews outside the palace, Isabelle begins to challenge the conventional wisdom that God ordains the social order, even as she staunchly disagrees with accusations leveled against the royal family. Skillfully integrated historical facts frame this engrossing, believable story. Readers will be captivated by the child's view of Versailles, its glittering halls infested with rats; the drudgery of daily work; and the terrors of the French Revolution. The unlikely, fragile friendship that crosses class boundaries will speak straight to young readers' own concerns. An appended author's note gives more historical context and addresses possible complaints that Isabelle's first meeting with the queen is a plot contrivance. Category: Books for Middle Readers--Fiction. 2007, Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry, $16.99.
(PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry $16.99., PUBLISHED: 2007)

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Publication Details:

  Publisher ISBN Notes
Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry $16.99., 2007

Media Type:

London: Simon & Schuster Children's, 2007

Media Type: Language Material
1 v. ;
New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2007

Media Type: Language Material
199 p. ;
PZ7.B7247 ([Fic])

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