Cover image for Albert
Napoli, Donna Jo, 1948-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Diego : Silver Whistle/Harcourt Brace, 2001.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 31 cm
One day when Albert is at his window, two cardinals come to build a nest in his hand, an event that changes his life.
Reading Level:
350 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.2 0.5 47314.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.3 2 Quiz: 24656 Guided reading level: K.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Clarence Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Collins Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Eden Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Hamburg Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Lancaster Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Lancaster Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



You never know what a day will bring.
The morning begins like any other. Albert reaches out the window to check the weather. But from the moment a twig lands smack in the palm of his hand, life is never the same.
In her first picture book, Donna Jo Napoli invents a magical and inspiring tale that will capture the heart of any reader who has loved a pet. Jim LaMarche creates an endearing character in Albert and a classic setting for the miraculous new world that unfolds around him.

Author Notes

Donna Jo Napoli was born on February 28, 1948. She received a B.A. in mathematics, an M.A. in Italian literature, and a Ph.D. in general and romance linguistics from Harvard University. She has taught on the university level since 1970, is widely published in scholarly journals, and has received numerous grants and fellowships in the area of linguistics.

In the area of linguistics, she has authored five books, co-authored six books, edited one book, and co-edited five books. She is also a published poet and co-editor of four volumes of poetry. Her first middle grade novel, Soccer Shock, was published in 1991. Her other novels include the Zel, Beast, The Wager, Lights on the Nile, Skin, Storm, Hidden, and Dark Shimmer. She is also the author of several picture books including Flamingo Dream, The Wishing Club: A Story About Fractions, Corkscrew Counts: A Story About Multiplication, The Crossing, A Single Pearl, and Hands and Hearts. She has received several awards including the New Jersey Reading Association's M. Jerry Weiss Book Award for The Prince of the Pond and the Golden Kite Award for Stones in Water.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-7, but see review. Albert, a pleasant, reclusive young man, sticks his hand out the window of his apartment every day to check on the weather and decide whether to venture out. And every day, he's dissuaded by something he hears or feels: an unpleasant noise, the heat, or the cold. One day, as he reaches out, two cardinals build a nest in his outstretched hand. Though surprised, Albert proves as faithful as Horton the elephant. He stays at his window for weeks, even sleeping standing up, as the female lays eggs, the eggs hatch, the father bird feeds his little ones (and Albert), and finally each fledgling flies away. Then, having observed his surroundings more closely, Albert goes out for a walk. Napoli has written a pleasing modern fairy tale, transformed into a picture book by LaMarche's appealing, shaded pencil drawings. Created with overlaid strokes of warm, sunlit colors, the illustrations form a series of memorable scenes. Considering that most of the action takes place at Albert's window, the artist's ability to make each picture visually intriguing is all the more remarkable. Every part of this handsome picture book is well crafted, yet the whole seems somewhat less than the sum of its parts. Perhaps the story, as good as it is, would work better without pictures; but no one who has seen these glorious illustrations could possibly wish them away. Perhaps the problem lies in our expectation of the audience for picture books. This one may have special appeal for high-school or college grads, who feel ambivalent about entering the "real" world and will respond to the story on a conceptual level, rather than young children, who will wonder how Albert went to the bathroom. For a book with a remarkably similar theme see Tobby Riddle's The Singing Hat [F 15 00].--Carolyn Phelan

Publisher's Weekly Review

According to PW's starred review, this is "a beguiling tale of a recluse forced out of his shell through unlikely circumstances." Ages 5-8. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 4-Sitting in his apartment, Albert enjoys listening to "good" noises (giggling children, a singing mailman). Each day, the man sticks his hand out through the grillwork on his window and considers whether or not to go out. Inevitably, he hears a "bad" noise (a garbage truck, people arguing), decides that the weather isn't right, and retreats to read comics or listen to baseball games. His routine takes a dramatic turn when a twig falls into his outstretched hand, and two cardinals build a nest and lay their eggs. Unable to retrieve his arm without harming the nest, he remains there, night and day, until the eggs hatch. Meanwhile, he observes not just the unpleasant side of the outside world, but also the many possibilities it offers. By the time he helps the last fledgling learn to fly, he is ready to venture out, and even to soar into the sky on a swing. In her first picture book, novelist Napoli proves that she can develop an interesting character in a tighter format. The introduction of the cardinals makes the story of an agoraphobic man accessible to children. The illustrations, done in colored pencils on textured paper, create a casual, rough-around-the-edges look that is just right for this story. Try pairing this book with tales of other intriguing loners, such as Ikarus in Christopher Myers's Wings (Scholastic, 2000) or Old Sam in Patricia Zelver's The Wonderful Towers of Watts (Morrow, 1994; o.p.). An admirable debut.-Wendy Lukehart, Harrisburg School District, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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