Cover image for The King of Capri
The King of Capri
Winterson, Jeanette, 1959-
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Bloomsbury Children's Book, 2003.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 30 cm
The greedy and self-centered king of Capri has a reversal of fortune when the wind blows all of his precious things into the backyard of a kind and generous Naples washerwoman, Mrs. Jewel.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.4 0.5 74029.
Geographic Term:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Oversize
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Fairy Tales
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

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The King of Capri is so greedy that he wishes he had two mouths with which to feed himself. Meanwhile, across the bay in the city of Naples, the washerwoman Mrs. Jewel barely manages to feed herself and her very skinny cat. But one night a great wind blows in and carries everything away from the King's castle, towards Naples, and into Mrs. Jewel's yard. The King is left alone and forlorn as everyone leaves Capri to visit the generous Mrs. Jewel, who has become the Queen of Naples. When he goes to make this new queen's acquaintance, the King of Capri and the Queen of Naples fall in love and they have nothing left to wish for.

Author Notes

Jeanette Winterson was born in Manchester, England in 1959 and graduated from St. Catherine's College, Oxford.

Her book, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, is a semi-autobiographical account of her life as a child preacher (she wrote and gave sermons by the time she was eight years old). The book was the winner of the Whitbread Prize for best first fiction and was made into an award-winning TV movie. The Passion won the John Llewelyn Rhys Memorial Prize for best writer under thirty-five, and Sexing the Cherry won the American Academy of Arts and Letters' E. M. Forster Award.

(Bowker Author Biography) Jeanette Winterson lives in London & the Cotswolds.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

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 gluttonousing 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.ewel. With theing's fortune, Mrs.ewel becomes the Queen of Naples, sharing her bounty with the city. When the contriteing 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.ewel's laundry line of sparkling cloth. --Gillian Engberg Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

A gluttonous king gets a taste of what it's like to go hungry in this quirky tale of topsy-turvy fortunes, the children's book debut of award-winning novelist Winterson (Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit). After gorging himself at a grand party with his favorite foods ("Why have I got two hands but only one mouth?" he wonders), the King of Capri settles in for a night of carb-overloaded slumber. While he sleeps, a frenzied tempest blows the monarch's fortune-including his clothes, treasure and the mustaches of the night watchmen-across the bay to the city of Naples where the bounty lands in the yard of kindly hardworking washerwoman Mrs. Jewel and her cat, Wash ("Two mouths to feed... but only one supper," she observes). Mrs. Jewel shares her newfound wealth with Wash and her neighbors, becoming Queen of the city. Having grown "lonely and sad and thin" as well as remorseful, the King (now glad he has "only one mouth to feed") "swallow[s] his pride" and makes a fortuitous visit to the Queen. Winterson adds plenty of whimsy and snappy dialogue to her original fairy tale, even if the delivery grows a bit precious. Extending the story's overall distinctive tone, Ray's (Twelve Dancing Princesses) mixed-media compositions are by turns magical and exotic; bits of textured paper and product labels serve as collage accents to her typical jewel-toned palette. The Isle of Capri and bay of Naples have rarely looked so inviting. Ages 5-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.