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PRICELESS GIFTS by Martha Hamilton


A Folktale from Italy

by Martha Hamilton & Mitch Weiss & illustrated by John Kanzler

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: May 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-87483-788-9
Publisher: August House

Storytellers Hamilton and Weiss invoke the exotic days of the spice trade in their retelling of a traditional Italian folktale. Antonio, a Genoese spice merchant, sails forth to faraway islands seeking to ply his trade, exchanging goods for spices. Entertained by residing royalty on an island he is doing business with, Antonio discovers they are plagued by rodents. The kindhearted trader offers the king a pair of felines to rid him of his pesky problem, and the grateful monarch showers the tradesman with jewels in thanks. When a greed-driven coworker of Antonio’s arrives at the same island laden with valuable gifts, he anticipates a wealthy reward. However, Luigi is soon surprised to discover the King’s definition of a priceless gift. Kanzler’s sumptuous artwork deftly conveys the grandiose tenor of this folktale. Regal red hues and other deep jewel tones dominate the illustrations, while visible brush strokes create the crackled effect of an aged painting, furthering the antique feeling of the text. Readers will enjoy discovering this gem of a folktale from long ago. An author’s note regarding spice trade and related titles is included. (Picture book. 5-8)