Books by Donna Jo Napoli and Complete Book Reviews

Donna Jo Napoli, Author Scholastic $15.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-590-38388-2
Like its mermaid heroine, this uneven novel is something of a hybrid: a romantic fantasy imposed atop a classical legend. A lengthy, even laborious set-up invents a genealogy for mermaids within Greek mythology (at least, this appears invented;...
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $15.95 (144p) ISBN 978-0-385-32627-8
Revisiting Jack and the Beanstalk, Napoli (Spinners) makes the plot bleaker but the message inspirational--an uneasy mix that reduces rather than expands the impact of the familiar story. Jack is nine when his father gambles away the family farm and
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author Puffin Books $5.99 (128p) ISBN 978-0-14-037439-1
In the words of PW's starred review, ``Napoli gives a classic fairy tale [Hansel and Gretel] an entirely new twist, at the same time incorporating absorbing details about medieval religious beliefs. . . . A YA novel of genuine magic and suspense.''...
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Donna Jo Napoli. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-4424-8300-2
This adventure-packed companion to Napoli’s Hush takes place in the 10th century, stretching over eight years in the life of fugitive Irish princess Brigid as she experiences four different lives. Kidnapped as an eight-year-old, along with her 15-yea
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author . Dell/Laurel-Leaf $5.50 (288p) ISBN 978-0-440-22928-5
A 14-year-old girl in the late 16th century wants to see Venice and receive the same education as her brothers. So she disguises herself as a boy and leads readers on a tour of historical Venice and its complex society and government. Ages 12-up. (De
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author . Random/Lamb $15.95 (128p) ISBN 978-0-385-32777-0
As in her Sirena, Napoli populates this ambitious novel with classical literary figures, chief among them Pan, the half-goat, half-god associated with nature. While Napoli's Pan physically conforms to classical type, psychologically he is very...
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author Point Signature $4.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-590-93706-1
This novel imagines the youth of the girl who would become Mary Magdalene and the events that shaped her into a powerful Biblical figure. ""Readers may come away with new thoughts about a different era,"" said PW. Ages 12-up. (Aug.)
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author Dutton Books $16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-525-45842-5
This gripping, meticulously researched story (loosely based on the life of an actual survivor), set in Europe during WWII, is told from the point of view of a Venetian boy forced into war against his will. Roberto's quiet life as a gondolier's son...
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author Dutton Books $15.99 (128p) ISBN 978-0-525-45127-3
A midwife-cum-sorceress known simply as the Ugly One narrates this riveting tale of how, tricked by the devil's minions, she lost her gifts for healing and was forced to become a witch. Escaping from the stake, where she is about to be burned, she...
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author . S&S/Atheneum $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-689-86176-5
Close in tone and audience to Napoli's Bound , this powerful survival story invents a backstory for Melkorka, a character in a major Icelandic work, the Laxdæla saga. Melkorka, 15, and sister Brigid, eight, are daughters of an Irish king...
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author . S&S $8 (260p) ISBN 978-0-689-83590-2
The bulk of this Beauty and the Beast novel is devoted to (the beast) Orasmyn's life as a lion, everything from his probing of the complexities of his fate and his Islamic prayers to his efforts to obtain food. PW called the book "more...
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author . Random/Lamb $16.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-385-32780-0
Napoli returns to the locale of Stones in Water and For the Love of Venice, this time for a costume drama set in the late 16th century. At 14, Donata Mocenigo and her twin sister watch carefully as their noble parents set about finding a husband...
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author Puffin Books $6.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-14-130116-7
""Napoli visits her magic upon the tale of Rapunzel, creating a work of depth and beauty,"" said PW in a starred review. ""The shiveringly romantic conclusion will leave readers spellbound."" Ages 10-14. (Nov.)
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Donna Jo Napoli, Holt, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-8050-8781-9
Based on the Italian fairy tale "Don Giovanni de la Fortuna," Napoli's (Alligator Bayou) sumptuously written novel is set in 12th-century Sicily. Part historical fiction, part spiritual fantasy, the story begins when Don Giovanni, a well-to-do 19-yea
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author Dutton Books $17.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-525-45612-4
As she has done for The Frog Prince and Hansel and Gretel, Napoli here visits her magic upon the tale of Rapunzel, creating a work of depth and beauty. In mid-16th-century Switzerland, Zel, on the threshold of adolescence, accompanies her mother on...
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author . Random/Lamb $16.99 (280p) ISBN 978-0-385-74654-0
Based on the 1899 lynching of five Italian immigrants, this thought-provoking book draws its power from vivid depictions of late–19th-century Louisiana and little-known historical facts. Settled in smalltown Tallulah, 14-year-old Calogero and...
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author Dutton Books $16.99 (133p) ISBN 978-0-525-47264-3
Donna Jo Napoli's Gracie: The Pixie of the Puddle brings to a close her trilogy begun with The Prince of the Pond. Though Gracie is a normal frog, she increasingly feels out of touch with her amphibious companions, whose thoughts seldom go beyond...
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author . Random/Lamb $15.95 (246p) ISBN 978-0-385-74653-3
Napoli (Stones in Water ) carefully lays out the dramatic growth of nine-year-old narrator Beniamino, from his last day in Naples, Italy, to his premature graduation into adulthood on the tough streets of New York City's Five Points neighborhood
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Donna Jo Napoli. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-4814-0302-3
Napoli (Skin) draws from the story of Noah's Ark in this account of a Canaanite girl, Sebah, with a big problem: rain, which sweeps away her family, home, and the ground beneath her feet. Sebah and a boy named Aban climb a tree to survive, but soon...
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author Scholastic $15.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-590-93705-4
Imagining the youth of Mary Magdalene, this novel is easily Napoli's (Zel, see p. 49) riskiest; unfortunately, it is not one of her most successful. Miriam, daughter of a wealthy Jewish widower in Magdala, is 10 when the novel opens and is about to...
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author . Dutton $17.99 (260p) ISBN 978-0-525-47999-4
One of the great mysteries, the secret of Mona Lisa's smile, is captivatingly addressed in this fictional history of the woman who posed for Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting. Readers will immediately warm up to Elisabetta, who is down-to
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author . HarperCollins/ Greenwillow $15.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-057987-6
Napoli (Beast ; Daughter of Venice ) may not be able to hook her usual fans with this overlong adventure tale, which begins rather thinly. Alvin, the protagonist, is a 12-year-old African-American boy growing up in a matriarchal household in...
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Donna Jo Napoli. Harper, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-166793-0
Living in ancient Egypt around 2530 B.C.E., 10-year-old Kepi inhabits a world very aware of the presence and power of gods and spirits. Her father is wounded while helping build a pyramid for the cruel Pharaoh Khufu, putting their family under...
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author Dutton Books $15.99 (160p) ISBN 978-0-525-45861-6
The talented Napoli (Stones in Water; Zel) shifts to a decidedly minor key for this middle-grade novel. Fifth-grader Eileen feels devastated when her father moves out, but she's in for another nasty surprise: he has taken the family piano with him....
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author . S&S/Atheneum $16.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-689-86175-8
Napoli (The Magic Circle ) takes the Cinderella story back to its roots in China, where the search for the right foot to fit the symbolic glass slipper takes on new meaning. The author sets the tale during the 14th-century reign of Emperor Hung-wu,...
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author Dutton Books $14.99 (144p) ISBN 978-0-525-45397-0
Laurel, the thoughtful 10-year-old heroine of this ambitious novel, loves all her pets-snakes, rabbits, fish-and she takes good care of them, but they suffer untimely deaths. When a pet rabbit at last thrives, Laurel gets permission to mate her and...
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Donna Jo Napoli. Amazon/Skyscape, $16.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-4778-1721-6
Sixteen-year-old Sep is alarmed when her lips suddenly turn white, forcing her to pull out some long-buried pink lipstick to disguise them. Just as unexpectedly, Sep starts getting the attention of popular football captain Joshua, a former...
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Donna Napoli, illus. by Jim Madsen. S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4169-9474-9
Through the eyes of baby Jean Baptiste, carried on his mother's back, Napoli (Mama Miti) tells the story of Shoshoni woman Sacagawea's 16-month voyage with pioneers Lewis and Clark from North Dakota to Missouri and back in search of a water passage...
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Donna Jo Napoli, illus. by Christina Balit. National Geographic, $24.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-4263-0844-4
Napoli brings new life to the familiar stories of Greek mythology in this intimate compilation, telling each tale with grace, clarity, and emotion. When Demeter mourns her missing daughter, “Her cheeks grew hollow, her body gaunt. Greens turned...
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Donna Jo Napoli, illus. by Christina Balit. National Geographic, $24.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-4263-1380-6
In this excellent companion volume to Treasury of Greek Mythology, Napoli and Balit introduce a panoply of Egyptian gods, goddesses, and other characters, while placing them in the context of Egyptian history, culture, and social mores. Balit’s...
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Donna Jo Napoli, illus. by Christina Balit. National Geographic, $24.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-4263-2540-3
Napoli and Balit follow their collections of Egyptian, Greek, and Norse myth with a selection of the stories recounted by Scheherazade, a girl “subject to the whims of a man so deeply wounded his ego wobbles with every step,” as Napoli writes in her
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Donna Jo Napoli, illus. by Jim LaMarche. Disney-Hyperion, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4231-4557-8
Inspired by a Persian poem, this resonant book from the creators of Albert follows a grain of sand’s metamorphosis into a pearl. Napoli’s lyrical narrative imbues the tiny grain with emotions. When it becomes lodged in an oyster, it “would have...
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author, Shelagh Johnston, Author, Kenneth J. Spengler, Illustrator , illus. by Kenneth J. Spengler. Mondo $15.95 (33p) ISBN 978-1-59336-002-3
In this dubious comedy about clever primates and dunderheaded tourists, baboons operate an African hotel while its owners and regular guests are away. Before the baboons take over, two Hotel Jungle vacationers write an enthusiastic postcard to their
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Donna Jo Napoli. Random/Lamb, $16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-385-74655-7
A comparative giant on an island of dwarves, Dolce has grown up isolated and reviled. She learns the valuable work of making mirrors, but when tragedy claims her mother Dolce flees to Venice, taking refuge with a widowed noble; his daughter, Bianca;
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author, Kadir Nelson, Illustrator , illus. by Kadir Nelson. S&S/Wiseman $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4169-3505-6
While Nobel Medalist Wangari Maathai has been the subject of two earlier picture biographies (Jeanette Winter's Wangari's Trees of Peace and Claire Nivola's Planting the Trees of Kenya ), this story is structured more like a folktale,
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author, Elena Furrow, Author, Bronwyn Bancroft, Illustrator , illus. by Bronwyn Bancroft. Bloomsbury $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59990-049-0
Quiet dignity marks Napoli (Stones in Water ), Furrow and Aboriginal artist Bancroft's account of a child's encounter with Australia and its indigenous artists. Ally, an American girl, is interested in art as a product and fears mistakes;...
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author, Richard Tchen, Author, Donna Diamond, Illustrator Dutton Books $15.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-525-46065-7
Napoli and Tchen spin fairy tale into something less than gold in this attenuated retelling of ""Rumpelstiltskin."" The villain of that tale, the odd little man who helps the miller's daughter but demands her first-born child, is first seen here as...
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author, Nancy Poydar, Illustrator Dutton Books $13.99 (144p) ISBN 978-0-525-45083-2
Its rather frightening, downbeat title aside, this is a decidedly uplifting story. The day before his family leaves to visit Grandma and Grandpa in Iowa, nine-year-old Mikey packs his clothes, taking special care to leave his bathing suit behind....
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author, Nancy Poydar, Illustrator Puffin Books $3.99 (144p) ISBN 978-0-14-037996-9
Mikey learns to swim (and to think positively and act confidently) in this ""decidedly uplifting story,"" said PW, adding that ""Napoli's snappy dialogue... and Poydar's animated drawings make this a good selection for reluctant readers."" Ages 8-12.
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author, Lita Judge, Illustrator , illus. by Lita Judge. Hyperion $14.99 (186p) ISBN 978-0-7868-3753-3
In the tradition of her The Prince of the Pond and The Magic Circle , Napoli here retells Hans Christian Andersen's The Ugly Duckling , but with an educational bent that at times overwhelms the story. Set in Tasmania, the book opens when the as-
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author, S. November, Editor Puffin Books $5.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-14-130600-1
PW's boxed review called this story of a Venetian gondolier's son and two friends, one Jewish, who are forcibly taken by Nazi soldiers, ""gripping and meticulously researched."" Ages 10-14. (Nov.)
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author, Judith Byron Schachner, Illustrator Dutton Books $16.99 (160p) ISBN 978-0-525-44976-8
This variation on ""The Frog Prince"" is told by Jade, a watchful female frog who teaches the bewitched royal how to survive in the pond. Jade eventually becomes a frog wife and mother to a school of tadpoles. The romance between these two...
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author, Judith Byron Schachner, Illustrator Puffin Books $5.99 (176p) ISBN 978-0-14-038037-8
In this sequel to The Prince of the Pond, a frog is turned into a human boy and tries to retrieve a magic ring that will save his home from destruction. ""The bittersweet undertones of the first novel are replaced by broad humor and almost slapstick
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author, Judith Byron Schachner, Illustrator Dutton Books $15.99 (176p) ISBN 978-0-525-45357-4
Napoli picks up where she left off in The Prince of the Pond, in which a prince turned frog regains his royal corpus only after starting a large and loving frog family. The star of this new adventure is Jimmy, the prince's frog son, who attempts to...
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author, Doron Ben-Ami, Illustrator, Lauren Klementz-Harte, Illustrator Aladdin Paperbacks $7.95 (96p) ISBN 978-0-689-82694-8
This strained tale launches Napoli's (Crazy Jack, reviewed below) Angelwings series, in which young angels must help a youngster with a problem in order to earn their wings. Taking a cue from It's a Wonderful Life, the author explains, ""Every time...
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author, Cathie Felstead, Illustrator , illus. by Cathie Felstead. HarperCollins/Greenwillow $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-688-16796-7
Told in the ingenuous voice of a girl who loses her father to cancer, this awkward story begins with a meandering account of a trip the youngster and her dad take to his childhood home in Florida. The girl reports a somewhat inane conversation about
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author, Marie Kane, Joint Author, Tamara Petrosino, Illustrator , illus. by Tamara Petrosino. Dutton $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-525-46544-7
Napoli (How Hungry Are You?) and Kane, Napoli's sister, address the problems of aging owners and needy pets in this sympathetic story of a black-and-white dog. At first, Rocky enjoys a sedate life with an elderly woman, Old Nini. But when Nini...
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author, Gabi Swiatkowska, Illustrator , illus. by Gabi Swiatkowska. Disney-Hyperion $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4231-0448-3
Napoli (Ready to Dream ) reworks folktale elements into a new and startling whole. After an earthquake, dark-haired Parisa is her town's lone survivor. Only menacing animals—Boar, Snapping Turtle, Bear, Owl, Snake, Wolf and Lion—rema
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author, Robert Furrow, Author, Heather Maione, Illustrator Dial Books $16.99 (126p) ISBN 978-0-8037-2994-0
These mother-and-son collaborators' spry follow-up to Sly the Sleuth and the Pet Mysteries may be rather short on sports action and suspense, but its chipper narrator and her entourage will likely draw kids into this trio of tales. In the first and...
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author, Dana Gustafson, Illustrator Yearling Books $2.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-440-40562-7
Teased by the other children because of his tremendous size, Nico saves the town against an invading army. Ages 6-9. (Jan.)
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Napoli's (Beast) first picture book spins a beguiling tale of a recluse forced out of his shell through unlikely circumstances. Sticking his hand through the window grillwork each day to check the weather, Albert invariably decides it's "
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author, Jim LaMarche, Illustrator , illus. by Jim LaMarche. Harcourt/Voyager $6 (32p) ISBN 978-0-15-205249-2
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)
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author, Rafal Olbinski, Illustrator Atheneum Books $17 (272p) ISBN 978-0-689-83589-6
Despite its wonderfully imaginative premise, this refashioned Beauty and the Beast falls curiously flat--it is more cerebral than romantic in tone, more laborious than lush in its execution. Unlike Robin McKinley, whose Beauty and Rose Daughter...
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Donna Jo Napoli, Author, Richard Tchen, Joint Author, Amy Walrod, Illustrator , illus. by Amy Walrod. S&S/Atheneum $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-689-83389-2
In this delectable combination of practical math and generosity, 13 picnickers amass a true feast. The event starts small, with a chat between a pink rabbit and a green-freckled frog. "I'll make sandwiches if you bring bug juice," says...
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Donna Jo Napoli and David Wiesner, illus. by David Wiesner. Clarion, $17.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-547-48393-1
In Wiesner and Napoli’s unsettling tale of self-discovery, a young mermaid who stars in a boardwalk aquarium show begins to question her circumstances after a human girl offers her friendship. Though she can’t talk and has never been outside, Mira—as
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ARTICLES
  • Q & A with David Wiesner and Donna Jo Napoli
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