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Spinners
Donna Jo Napoli and Richard Tchen
Dutton, 146 pages

Art: Donna Diamond
Spinners
Donna Jo Napoli
Donna Jo Napoli lives in Swarthmore, PA, with her husband and their 5 children. She has received 3 degrees from Harvard including a PhD in General and Romance Linguistics. Currently, she is a Professor of Linguistics and Chair of the Linguistics Program at Swarthmore College, where she also teaches courses in writing fiction for children. Her work include Soccer Shock, The Magic Circle, The Prince of the Pond and its sequel, Jimmy, The Pickpocket of the Palace.

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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Jeri Wright

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A young man in the throes of first love makes a foolish boast that he can clothe his beloved in a wedding dress of gold. He makes good the boast, but loses both the girl and the better part of himself.

The miller's daughter spins wondrous yarns on her mother's spinning wheel, in time attracting the attention of the King. Again, a foolish boast, and the miller's daughter finds herself alone in the dark with her spinning wheel and a room full of straw. If she cannot spin the straw into gold by morning, she will die.

Her only hope seems to be the strange little man who appears as if in answer to her prayers. Maybe gold can be spun from straw... but the miller's daughter should remember that miracles have a price.

This retelling of Rumpelstiltskin is beautifully written, with a lyrical, haunting quality that lingers in the mind well past the final page. The style is deceptively simple, the mood dark and brooding. A young adult novel, it held my interest and drew me in, never talking down to the presumably younger audience. Spinners is more a book of mood and images than of plot and characters; I was intrigued rather than moved, but I enjoyed it, despite the fact that my favourite fairy tales have generally been those with happily-ever-afters.

Copyright © 1999 Jeri Wright

Jeri is a voracious reader who believes that paradise could well be a quiet afternoon, unlimited chocolate, and a novel to lose herself in. She reads and reviews all types of fiction, and enjoys sharing her life long passion for books with like-minded readers.


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