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The Striped Ships

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  79 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Juliana, an eleven-year-old Saxon girl, loses her home and family when the Normans conquer England in 1066 and seeks to order her life by becoming involved in the creation of the Bayeux tapestry.
Hardcover, 229 pages
Published October 1st 1991 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
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3.42  · 
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 ·  79 ratings  ·  13 reviews

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Sherry Elmer
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of English history
Recently, when my son checked the library for Eloise McGraw books (because he loves The Golden Goblet), he found The Painted Ships, which takes place in the time of the Norman invasion of England in 1066. I was so excited to see this. We had read about the Norman Conquest, (thanks to Ambleside Online homeschool curriculum), and this past year my son and I were able to view a replica of the Bayeux Tapestry. It is an amazing work of art. I was so happy he found this wonderful novel that incorporat ...more
Michael Fitzgerald
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The second half is more engaging than the first, but this is a great historical fiction book. It takes a well-constrained time period and presents a few very believable primary characters as well as secondary ones who help make things fit together within the setting. The author's notes are illuminating, and the glossary is most welcome.
Ruth Mann
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So sad this book is out of print. Great historical fiction to cover the Norman Invasion of 1066 and how that impacted the Saxons living there, introduced French to the Germanic language of English, and of course the Bayeux Tapestry.
Dec 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle Brock
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
McGraw has written a number of books that have weathered well over the years. The Striped Ships is not currently in print, but it's still a well-written historical novel worth reading. The setting is England in 1066 and the years following. Juliana's world is turned upsidedown. Her father's slaves' lives haven't changed much, but her life has. Instead of a passive life of ease, Juli must make her own way. I like how McGraw develops her character. In the beginning, Juli is longing for the familia ...more
Courtney Stoker
I got this book from the library because I love McGraw's The Moorchild, but this book felt not quite as well-done, in part because it seemed to lack a plot. It's about a girl in England in 1066, during the Norman invasion. Her whole life flips upside down after the invasion, from one of privilege and wealth to one of penury and drudgery. And she then gets involved in making the Bayeux tapestry. (Google it, it's apparently famous.)

And...that's it. I spent a good majority of the book thinking, "Th
Miss Amanda
gr 6-10 222pgs

1066, England. 11 year old Juliana, a Saxon, loses everything when the Normans invade. With her father dead and her house taken by Normans, Juliana roams the countryside looking for a home. When she learns her mother and gone to live with Norman friends and her older brother fighting the Normans, Juliana feels very much alone. When she learns of a tapestry, the Bayeux Tapestry, that is being made by order of the Norman king, Juliana furiously assumes that it will only show the Norm
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is the second book I've read by McGraw and she does not shy away from portraying all facets of a situation, not just the pleasant or didactic ones. Juliana is a tough girl, a thane's daughter whose life is upended with the Norman invasion. I know I've learned about this period of history from school, but because I've read this book, I don't think I'll be forgetting it like I've done previously. There is an glossary in the back of the book which is helpful since McGraw doesn't do much explai ...more
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent story, well told. I really wish there'd been some pictures to explain some items of clothes (like a headrail) that are not worn today but would be really interesting to see. I like how Jilly, while trying to help the other members of her family, also looks out for herself and finds a place of her own doing something that means something to her.

Interesting moral dilemma: If the king has broken his oath, does that make him a bad person? Jilly ponders this but not until a monk explains th
Jeanne Ferris
Jan 19, 2016 rated it liked it
I was introduced to Eloise Jarvis McGraw's "Mara, Daughter of the Nile" in childhood and later discovered her adult novel about the same period (around the reign of Hatshepshut in ancient Egypt), "Pharaoh." Both remain among my favorite books. "The Striped Ships" has a completely different setting--the Norman invasion of England in 1066. It's written for children, but it's a fascinating look at what that invasion meant for the English. The description of the vast forest that the two main charact ...more
Aug 30, 2008 rated it liked it
This is the story of Juliana, daughter of a Saxon thane, when the Normans invade and Duke William of Normandy becomes a ruler of England. There is some descriptions of violence, though the narrator is spared some of the worst of the battles.

I was really impressed by the amount of historic detail that was included in this novel, and in the descriptions of the embroidery was particularly interesting.
Well-written with a strong sense of the time. What Juliana wants seems to be for the world to go back to the way it was, or failing that, to find a place, which is rather vague. She must lie and defy her mother in order to become her own person. The main direction seems to be to describe the lives and times of those who created the Bayeux tapestry.
Maureen E
A children’s story about the making of the Bayeux Tapestry. I found it a bit slow and young, but for the right kid and the right age group it could be really good. Juliana is certainly a compelling heroine and I liked that she didn’t seem horribly anachronistic. [Sept. 2010]
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Eloise Jarvis McGraw was an author of children's books. She was awarded the Newbery Honor three times in three different decades, for her novels Moccasin Trail (1952), The Golden Goblet (1962), and The Moorchild (1997). A Really Weird Summer (1977) won an Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery from the Mystery Writers of America. McGraw had a very strong interest in history, and among the many book ...more