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Yolen, Jane.
New York : Philomel Books, 2002.
IL 5-8, RL 6.8
ISBN 0399236279

(3 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

Have any of you seen the movie Braveheart?  It's the story of William Wallace who fought for Scotland's freedom from England during the last part of the 13th century.  This story takes up the tale of the Scottish fight for independence after Wallace's death.  Robert the Bruce is crowned King of Scotland and the English are determined to stop the rebellion and squash the Scottish independence movement.  King Bruce's only child, Marjorie, is captured by the English and kept in a cage in full sight of the whole town.  Taunted by the townsfolk and King Edward himself, young Marjorie strives to stay strong for Scotland.  Throughout her ordeal, we learn about her past through flashbacks.  As determined as she is to stay strong, just how much can an eleven-year-old girl endure?

Booktalk #2

This delightful tale enhances Middle Ages studies by adding the Scottish perspective of life in medieval England.  When Robert the Bruce becomes King of Scotland, his daughter Marjorie delights in her role as a princess.  She revels in her daily amusements:  reading, horseback riding, hawking, dancing, and playing in the gardens at Lochmaben.  By virtue of her father's title, Marjorie and the entire royal household become a target of ruthless Edward Longshanks, King of England.  The men, led by King Bruce, depart to defend Scottish-held lands deep in the English countryside, and subsequently, Marjorie is captured by English soldiers.  Stuck in the back of a filthy wagon, it floor strewn with dirty straw, jolted about for a bone-jarring three-day journey, Marjorie arrives at Lanercost exhausted, filthy, and covered with insect bites.  Eyeing the massive stone walls, the carvings about the arches, Marjorie lifts her filthy skirts, holds her head high, and begins walking toward the priory.  The English captain dragged her instead toward the road that divided the priory from the village.  A small platform was raised about four feet high and a cage of latticed timber and iron squatted on top of it.  It looked like a cage for a bear that performs at fairs.  Another soldier opened the cage and the captain pushed Marjorie inside.  Then, the heavy iron door clanged shut as the soldiers disappeared around a wall.  Marjorie looks around her prison.  A bare floor, cold metal bars, nothing to keep out wind or weather.  It was worse than the wagon, which at least had had straw.  Villagers gathered, laughing and pointing.  They yelled insults, even words which Marjorie had never heard before, and threw rotten turnips at her.  How could this happen to a king's daughter?  Marjorie stepped forward.  "Fetch a judge.  Get someone to release me.  I am the princess of Scotland."  (Julia S. Fanning,,  Busbee Middle School)

Booktalk #3

Marjorie is a Princess, the daughter of the new King of Scotland, Robert the Bruce. A princess is supposed to live in castle, not a cage with a dirt floor. But in a cage is precisely where Marjorie finds herself, as a prisoner of her father's archenemy, King Edward I of England, the tall and cruel king known as “Longshanks”. Young Marjorie has to find ways to outsmart him to survive, to remain true to herself, just to stay sane. Come join the Scottish patriots in 1306, a year after William “Braveheart” Wallace was executed, during the struggles for Scottish freedom. Could YOU survive in an open air cage, with little food or protection from the weather, and almost no privacy?  (Jean B. Bellavance for Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards, 2004-2005)

SUBJECTS:     Scotland -- History -- Robert I, 1306-1329 -- Fiction.
                        Marjorie, Princess of Scotland, d. 1316 -- Childhood and youth -- Fiction.
                        Princesses -- Fiction.
                        Historical fiction.


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