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Leonardo's Horse
     

Leonardo's Horse

5.0 1
by Jean Fritz, Hudson Talbott (Illustrator)
 

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"A scintillating sliver of history. . . . An inventive introduction to the Renaissance and one of its masters." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

"An unusual and surprisingly touching story . . . . An offbeat and intriguing read." (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review)

"At times sad, silly, and telling, this is a wholly

Overview

"A scintillating sliver of history. . . . An inventive introduction to the Renaissance and one of its masters." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

"An unusual and surprisingly touching story . . . . An offbeat and intriguing read." (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review)

"At times sad, silly, and telling, this is a wholly entertaining book." (School Library Journal, starred review)

"Filled with engaging details of Leonardo and his world. . . . Illustrations which range from utterly recognizable scenes of Florence to the ghostly horses at Leonardo's deathbed. . . . An unusual biography for young people, and one well worth poring over . . . . A unique way of picturing a unique world . . . . An extraordinary tribute." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fritz (And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?) again calls upon her informal yet informative style to spotlight a scintillating sliver of history, recounted in two related tales. Her narrative opens as the ultimate Renaissance man, Leonardo da Vinci, earns a commission from the duke of Milan to create a sculpture to honor the duke's father a bronze horse three times larger than life. Though this creative genius spent years on the project, he died without realizing his dream and, writes Fritz, "It was said that even on his deathbed, Leonardo wept for his horse." The author then fast-forwards to 1977: an American named Charles Dent vows to create the sculpture and make it a gift from the American people to the residents of Italy. How his goal was accomplished (alas, posthumously) makes for an intriguing tale that Fritz deftly relays. Talbott's (Forging Freedom) diverse multimedia artwork includes reproductions of da Vinci's notebooks, panoramas revealing the Renaissance in lavish detail and majestic renderings of the final equine sculpture. Talbott makes creative use of the book's format a rectangle topped by a semi-circle: the rounded space by turns becomes a window through which da Vinci views a cloud shaped like a flying horse; the domed building that was Dent's studio and gallery; and a globe depicting the route the bronze horse travels on its way from the U.S. to Italy. An inventive introduction to the Renaissance and one of its masters. Ages 5-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Newbery Honor-winner Jean Fritz has written many fine biographies for young readers. This time she has chosen a picture book format for this intriguing true story of Leonardo da Vinci's giant horse. And a handsome book it is, with its domed shape, bronze endpapers, and Hudson Talbott's evocative watercolors, combined with some of Leonardo's own drawings. The first part tells of the artist's commission to make an enormous bronze horse for the Duke of Milan. Although Leonardo gets as far as a sensational clay model, the fortunes of war intervene and the horse eventually disintegrates. The second part explains how, 500 years later, an American pilot named Charlie Dent attempts to recreate the statue, later completed by sculptor Nina Akamu in 1999 and shipped to Italy for casting in bronze. Leonardo's horse is finally unveiled in its first home, Milan, with one copy made for the United States. (Here readers might wish for a photograph of the actual horse.) Since this isn't a complete biography, teachers may want to pair it with a book like Diane Stanley's Leonardo da Vinci for more background about Leonardo's life and work. A fascinating addition to a unit about the Renaissance, the book can also spark discussion of questions unanswered by Fritz¾for example, what is the role of art and artists in our lives? Is this the work of a contemporary sculptor or is it truly the magnificent horse of Leonardo's dreams? 2001, Putnam, $16.99. Ages 7 to 12. Reviewer:Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal
A careful explanation of how da Vinci's unfinished bronze horse became a 20th-century reality. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A veteran writer of lively biographies has turned her attention to quite an engaging story: the biography of an equine sculpture. She starts with Leonardo da Vinci and his fascination with everything-drawing, sketching, writing, and musing-and with making: sculpture, weapons, even party tricks. He made a 24-foot-high clay model of a horse for the Duke of Milan, but before it could be cast, French archers and rain destroyed it. This haunted Leonardo for the rest of his life. It haunted American Charles Dent in the 1970s, also, and he vowed to produce Leonardo's horse as a gift from the American people to the people of Italy. He died in 1994, but sculptor Nina Akamu and a host of others kept his promise. In typical Fritz (Why Not, Lafayette?, 1999, etc.) fashion, her story is filled with engaging details of Leonardo's personality and his world. Likewise, the contemporary process by which the horse was created and cast is described with enough detail to fascinate but not to bore. Talbott (Forging Freedom, 2000, etc.) uses mixed media and collage to create his illustrations, which range from utterly recognizable scenes of Florence to the ghostly horses at Leonardo's deathbed. The contemporary images are drawn with as much spirit and vitality as the Renaissance ones. An unusual biography for young people, and one well worth poring over, its format is also noteworthy. It has a rounded top, giving the artist ample opportunity for the dome under which the horse was built as well as a chance to explore a unique way of picturing a unique world. Together, Fritz and Talbott have forged an extraordinary tribute to two dreamers 500 years apart. (author's note, Web site) (Biography. 7-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399235764
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
10/28/2001
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
552,028
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 11.80(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
660L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Jean Fritz, the Newbery Honor-winning author of Homesick, is best known for her engaging and enlightening nonfiction for young readers, including What's the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?, And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?, and Shh! We're Writing the Constitution. She was honored with the Knickerbocker Award for Juvenile Literature by the New York State Library Association, and won the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for her career contribution to American children's literature.

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Leonardo's Horse 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was outstanding, true history....the illustrations were amazing,The book-a bluebonnet book, deserves ALL recognition