Brave Donatella and the Jasmine Thief

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Overview

Duke Cosimo de’ Medici loved beautiful and exotic things, particularly flowers and plants from far-off lands. So when an explorer delivers the magnificent jasmine plant all the way from India as a present to the duke, Cosimo guards it jealously, forbidding anyone to remove even one leaf for themselves. When the foolish gardener Antonio, determined to prove his love for Donatella, clips a sprig of the forbidden jasmine, he is sent to Volterra prison. Now brave Donatella is his only hope for freedom. The story of ...

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Overview

Duke Cosimo de’ Medici loved beautiful and exotic things, particularly flowers and plants from far-off lands. So when an explorer delivers the magnificent jasmine plant all the way from India as a present to the duke, Cosimo guards it jealously, forbidding anyone to remove even one leaf for themselves. When the foolish gardener Antonio, determined to prove his love for Donatella, clips a sprig of the forbidden jasmine, he is sent to Volterra prison. Now brave Donatella is his only hope for freedom. The story of Brave Donatella and the Jasmine Thief is based on a legend about Duke Cosimo de’ Medici and the origins of the Italian bridal tradition of wearing a sprig of jasmine on one’s wedding dress. Back matter describes Renaissance Florence and the rise of the Medici family. With links to art, history, and science, this book will please readers of all interests.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
This lengthy but absorbing love story from sixteenth-century Florence is based on a legend about Cosimo de' Medici. The rich and powerful duke, lover of beautiful things, has a favorite plant in his exotic gardens: sweet-smelling jasmine from India. He is determined to keep the jasmine for himself, and is known to be cruel to those who disobey him. Antonio, a young gardener in love with a girl called Donatella but unable to afford anything else, dares to steal a sprig of jasmine for her. He is imprisoned in a dungeon, but clever Donatella rescues him and they both survive, thanks to the jasmine. For luck and happiness, Italian brides have worn jasmine ever since. Hendricks uses Prismacolor colored pencils and a Prismacolor black fine line marker to draw detailed, delicate scenes of Florence and characters in period dress, framed ed with decorative borders. Extremely attractive fruits and vegetables fill market and kitchen. Even the dungeon is cast in a rosy light. The young lovers are a handsome pair; Cosimo is properly regal; his guards a quartet of buffoons. Notes fill in the factual background of Tuscan history, with sources. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—Duke Cosimo de'Medici of Florence, collector of exotic plants, jealously guards the jasmine brought from India by Vasco da Gama and is known to torture those who displease him. Antonio, the youngest gardener, is "made bold by love" and cuts a small sprig for beautiful Donatella. The duke notices, discovers Antonio is the thief, and has him imprisoned in a distant town. When Donatella learns what has happened, she plants the jasmine in a clay pot and walks three days and two nights to Volterra. There she drugs Cosimo's guards with tea infused with poppy petals. She rescues Antonio, and they flee. At her wedding Donatella wears a sprig of jasmine for happiness and good luck. For this memorable love story, McAlister supplies historical background in an author's note. Hendricks uses colored pencils and a black fine-line marker for the illustrations, framing most of them with gold bands and featuring trailing vines and white jasmine blossoms in the borders. Pair this title with Paul O. Zelinsky's Rapunzel (Dutton, 1997), another love story with an unusual plant at its heart and the Italian countryside as its background.—Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570917295
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/1/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD760L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Caroline McAlister is the author of HOLY MOLE (August House/Little Folk). She teaches writing at Guilford College, and lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 13, 2010

    Enchanting

    Brave Donatella is a great addition for any child's storybook collection. It is the story of a brave and resourceful young lady who uses her these gifts to save her beloved and provide for her family. The time period is the Italian Renaissance, researched with care by the author and depicted beautifully by the illustrator. This is the kind of book I can read over and over to my children - just wonderful.

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