Priceless Gifts: A Tale from Italy

Priceless Gifts: A Tale from Italy

by Martha Hamilton, Mitch Weiss, John Kanzler
     
 

A humorous retelling of an Italian tale in which a Genoese merchant, richly rewarded for solving an irritating problem for the king of the Spice Islands, causes a greedy rival to try and gain a fortune in the same way.

Overview

A humorous retelling of an Italian tale in which a Genoese merchant, richly rewarded for solving an irritating problem for the king of the Spice Islands, causes a greedy rival to try and gain a fortune in the same way.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Keri Collins
Husband and wife storytellers Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss bring to life an Italian folktale set during the glory days of Italy's monopoly of the Spice Islands. The hero of the story, Antonio, leaves Genoa with a ship filled with goods to trade for valuable spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, which could be found only on these islands so far from Europe. When Antonio sits down to eat with a king, he is dismayed to see rats run in to share the feast. "Don't you have any cats on this island?" he asks, but the king has never heard of such an animal. Fortunately, Antonio has several cats on his ship and gives a tabby and a tomcat to the grateful king. In appreciation, the king presents Antonio with a jewel-filled chest. When Antonio returns to Genoa, a rival merchant named Luigi, filled with jealousy, determines to return to the island and shower the king with gifts in hopes of receiving greater treasure in return. The king does share his most precious possession with Luigi—but it is not exactly what the greedy merchant was expecting. Rich, jewel-toned illustrations laced with humor make this engaging tale a perfect introduction to studies of explorers and the spice trade, and will provoke lively discussions about gifts, especially the kind that money can't buy.
Kirkus Reviews
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)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780874837889
Publisher:
August House Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
12/28/2006
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.73(w) x 11.42(h) x 0.37(d)
Lexile:
AD750L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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