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The King of Capri Hardcover – September 2, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 4--The gluttonous King of Capri bemoans the fact that he has "two hands but only one mouth." His advisor reminds him that his impoverished subjects can barely feed one. As bedtime approaches, the monarch, clad only in socks and a crown, hangs his food-stained clothes on the wash line. Meanwhile, across the bay in Naples, a poor washerwoman shares her meager dinner with her cat. That night the wind wreaks havoc and fortunes shift as objects are buffeted from the island to the city. The roles are reversed and the contrast between generosity and greed are made abundantly clear. Ray uses a sunlit Mediterranean palette to depict clustered port dwellings. The deeper shades of the aquamarine sea and sky heighten the brightness of the warm colors. The artist employs a variety of papers, a range of brush techniques, and miniature gold details to decorate the scenes, creating the rich layering of cloth and textures found in a palace or laundry. All's well that ends well, and a harmonious balance is achieved for both characters. With its selfish king, heart-of-gold laborer, and preponderance of fabrics, the story is reminiscent of Jeff Brumbeau's The Quiltmaker's Gift (Pfeifer-Hamilton, 1999). Predictable, but visually quite special.--Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
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From Booklist

PreS-Gr. 2. Winterson, best known for her experimental adult novels, offers a debut title for children--an original fairy tale about reversals of fortune. The gluttonous King of Capri shares none of his riches with impoverished Naples, across the bay. Then a magical wind lifts Capri's riches and deposits them in the yard of a Naples washerwoman named Mrs. Jewel. With the King's fortune, Mrs. Jewel becomes the Queen of Naples, sharing her bounty with the city. When the contrite King tracks down his possessions, he's struck by the Queen's benevolence, and a wedding ends the story. The leisurely pace and a few puzzling plot elements may frustrate some young listeners, but children will be caught by the story's whimsy (the wind chats with a cat), and its humor: the king's appetite will earn some giggles. Ray's stunning watercolor illustrations, best viewed up close, beautifully extend the fanciful tale; children will pore over the lavish, brilliantly hued pictures of the king's mouthwatering smorgasbord and Mrs. Jewel's laundry line of sparkling cloth. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books; First Edition edition (September 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582348308
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582348308
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 0.4 x 12.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,953,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MaryMJ on October 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Excellent for children of all ages! As an artist, I am always looking for inspiration from children's fairy stories and this is one of the best I have found in a long time. I will be reading this to the children in my life in times to come. It combines a great moral story with superb illustrations. Full of warmth and character.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Makarov on February 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think that it's a great book but for older kids. Mine is almost 4 and she is not that interested yet.
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By liveinbooks on December 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful read-aloud, which is funny and engaging and also teaches an important lesson. My kids (5&7) loved it. After we read it, we had a great discussion about how selfish people end up miserable and lonely, while generous people find joy in life. The king learns this truth in a powerful way, and the book ends on a very happy note. As always, Jane Ray's illustrations are exquisite, with lots of lovely details.
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By jbpmft on December 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great, fun book to read! My kids love it and they really enjoy when I read the small Italian snippets. They are younger, so the message may be lost on them, but we read it at least 3 times a week.
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11 of 51 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Jeanette Winterson is one of my top few favorite writers--I love her passion, her romance, her poetry, her magical sense of life. In many ways she's a genius. She's a literary virtuoso.
But on political and social issues, she is quite conventional, spreading the same anti-capitalistic, pro-socialism, anti-American bromides that one hears everywhere.
My ideal writer would have the poetry of Jeanette Winterson, but the rational, radical philosophy of Ayn Rand.
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