Peter the Great

This well-researched picture book biography of Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia (1672-1725) begins with his childhood surrounded by servants, trained monkeys, and dancing bears, moves on to his youthful fascination with ships and the culture of Europe, and concludes with his transformation of Russia into a European country and his building of the city of St. Petersburg before his death at the relatively young age of 53. The accompanying paintings display wonderfully detailed interiors, architectural details, and clothing. Peter’s insatiable curiosity and energy are emphasized, although the cost of his ruthlessness is not glossed over.