If you had looked over the Bay of Naples that night, you would have seen the King’s velvet breeches and the King’s silk shirt and the King’s golden waistcoat and the King’s embroidered cloak all flying across the sea.
And where do you think they landed?
As much as I adore many of today’s bold, quirky, and thoroughly modern picture books, it is still a rare treat to come across a new story with the magical air of a really great, classic fairytale.
The King of Capri bears all the hallmarks of a beautiful and memorable fairytale, which is a real achievement for an original story written in the 21st century. It deals with a common theme—learning to appreciate what you have, and what is really important in life—without becoming cliched or sacrificing the quality of the story, which is both moving and funny, and rather romantic to boot.
Jane Ray’s illustrations—saturated with colour, classic, detailed, and with a distinct Mediterranean air about them—evince a sort of dreamy realism that reflects the humourous and fairytale-like qualities of the story without drawing our imaginations entirely out of the “real world” as depicted in the story (as opposed to a world of pure fantasy).