BRAVE DONATELLA AND THE JASMINE THIEF by Caroline McAlister

BRAVE DONATELLA AND THE JASMINE THIEF

Age Range: 4 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

An historical anecdote about Cosimo de’ Medici’s jealous attachment to the sweet-smelling jasmine plant for which a young, romantic gardener risks his life is offered up here as a folktale set in palace gardens and courtyards and along pastoral Tuscan walks. Antonio’s sweetheart, the beautiful cook Donatella, uses courage and mild trickery to free her beloved from Cosimo’s deep dungeon in Volterra, into which he’s been thrown because of the theft. Hendricks’s mild palette and mannered scenes lend atmosphere but only a few sparks to McAlister’s measured pace. The effect is curiously flat, with Donatella’s rescue of her future husband a foregone conclusion in both visual and textual narrative. One might wish for more demonstration of Cosimo’s fabled villainous tyranny or for more conflict before the neat, if heroine- (rather than hero-) achieved resolution, but the whole affords an unusual, pictorial glimpse of the Boboli Gardens and of the Italian Renaissance. (author’s note, bibliography) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-57091-729-5
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2010




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