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THE KING OF CAPRI by Jeanette Winterson


by Jeanette Winterson & illustrated by Jane Ray

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-58234-830-8
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Adult author Winterson turns her hand to the reworking of a whimsical Italian folktale. The King of Capri goes to a party and eats all of his favorite foods, wondering why he has two hands, but only one mouth. He gets kind of sloppy so he hangs all his finery out on the line (he doesn’t know you have to wash them first). A great wind comes up and blows the king’s stuff across from the island of Capri to the city of Naples. The tiny washerwoman Mrs. Jewel washes and puts on the king’s clothes, and distributes his goods across Naples, while the king of Capri learns that if he had two mouths he would be twice as hungry. When he swallows his pride and rows across the bay, Mrs. Jewel’s cat Wash tells the whole story of the wind, the king proposes to Mrs. Jewel, and everyone’s happy. A few Italian phrases are used and translated (by the cat), and the story has a deeply Italian sensibility. Ray’s incredible artwork includes elements of collage and a brilliant piling on of pattern and detail, eminently suited to the tale. (Folktale. 5-8)