Ann Weil's Red Sails to Capri
Book review by Shannon Duncan
Michele Pagano lived in the sleepy village of Capri, on the island of Capri. He had lived there for all his fourteen years.
Year after year, everything stayed exactly the same. Nothing ever happened to break the monotonous pattern of island life. That was until the day that, as he stood on the shore, Michele spotted a strange ship sailing into the bay. Its red sails billowed in the breeze, then dropped as the vessel anchored.
Three men stepped onto the Granda Marina pier; they were foreigners. Foreigners on the island of Capri in winter? When the inns had been closed? It was absurd.
A mad dash followed the visitors' unceremonious and untimely arrival. They may be foreigners, they could even be crazy, but they would want beds, food and shelter.
Money could be made in winter, when innkeepers were even poorer than usual. The villagers would not miss such an opportunity.
The upheaval did not end there. Each of the three visitors was on a quest for something. When each of the three quests all seemed to point in the same direction, the results were frightening.
The foreigners lived up to their fearsome reputation, threatening to disturb the sleepy village and its peaceful inhabitants, but even the islanders' wildest fears could never have prepared them for what was about to happen. Life on the island would never be the same again.
Red Sails to Capri by Ann Weil looks very ordinary, even boring, on the outside, but do not be tempted to skip it. The only clue to the treasure that lies within is the silver medal on the front; it is a 1953 Newbery Honour book.
Award-winning artist C.B. Falls illustrated the book.
A fictional account of how a forgotten natural wonder was rediscovered on the Italian island of Capri in 1826, after having been forgotten for centuries, the book is full to the brim with Italian passion, piety and pasta, blended with unique island traditions making it unforgettable.
The whole story is a perfect blend of adventure, suspense and humour. The first page draws you in and it is difficult to drag yourself away until the story ends, and you put the book down with a contented sigh. It is not too long, just over one hundred fifty pages, so you can read it through in an afternoon.
Webmaster's note: If you must know what the mysterious natural wonder is, click here.
The conclusion threatens to arrive multiple times throughout the book, but the author draws you on. She knows she has your complete attention, and takes full advantage of it.
Red Sails to Capri is overflowing with humour based on brilliant observations of people and life. It is funny because it is so realistic.
Most of the story is told in dialogue, and the author has done an incredible job of making the characters sound as though they were speaking Italian, but in perfect English, which makes it wonderful fun to read, especially aloud.
Red Sails to Capri is a brilliant book for young readers between eight and fourteen years old, or anyone looking for a light but rewarding story to read.
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