The Ghost of Hampton Court (Maid Martha Tells It All Series)
Martha Hannah
CicadaSun (2008)
ISBN 0977980804
Reviewed by Ben Weldon (age 10) for Reader Views (5/08)

“The Ghost of Hampton Court” by Martha Hannah is the story of King Henry the Eighth as told by Maid Martha. This picture book is a quick read, but it contains good historical information and excellent illustrations.

This book tells the true story of King Henry VIII.  Boy was he a mean guy!  King Henry VIII lived during the late-Middle Ages in England.  When he got mad at a wife he would get rid of her, and sometimes that meant chopping off her head.

King Henry lived at Hampton Court, a palace on the banks of the ThamesRiver.  The palace had belonged to Cardinal Wolsey, but Henry had him jailed and stole his castle.  (Henry always got, or took, whatever he wanted!).  Legend has it that the ghost of Catharine Howard, his fifth wife, haunts Hampton Court.

The illustrations in this book are interesting and very ornate.  I can’t really tell if the illustrations are paintings or photos or a mix of both.  The exquisite garb of the characters is highly detailed. There is a picture of Maid Martha superimposed on nearly every page, and it is sometimes a bit annoying.

I would recommend this picture book to people age 12 and under.  Although “The Ghost of Hampton Court” is mostly true, it does include some unreal parts (the ghost) that might confuse young readers.  I would not recommend this book to faint-hearted readers who would be upset by heads rolling.  This is the first book in the “Maid Martha Tells It All” series and I am curious to see what comes next.  I hope that everyone who reads this book will like it and learn from it.

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