One of the books we read for school this year is The Little Duke by Charlotte Mary Yonge. It is a great story and very well written. It has some dated language and some of the names are hard to pronounce, but we enjoyed it nonetheless. There were definitely things I had to stop and clarify, but I think this is a benefit. It allows for better comprehension and it makes the story more relatable if they truly understand what is going on and can put themselves in the story. If the records are accurate this is their 34th great-grandfather, so it makes it even more special to learn about someone in our own family.
This true story is about Richard the Fearless, the Little Duke, who became the Duke as a child. The description of the back cover of the book says,
Richard the Fearless, the great grandfather of William the Conqueror, became Duke of Normandy at just 8 years old, after the assassination of his father. The Little Duke tells the heroic tales of his trials at home in Normandy and at the court in France where he was a prisoner.
My children would beg me to read more, but as we got close to the end they begged me not to finish just yet. They were sad to be done with the story. This historical novel makes history come alive for children. They get the opportunity to “get to know” a figure from the past. They get the chance to see that kings and dukes were once little children too. One of my favorite parts of the book, was when they found a chest that contained Richard’s father’s (William Longsword) “treasure”. The priest explained to Richard and the men why the contents of the chest were his father’s greatest treasure. It is a beautiful story, and it shows why Richard would become the kind of man that he was.
We truly loved this book and I’m looking forward to reading it again someday with my little boy.