My Name Is... Leonardo Da Vinci

Overview

Leonardo was one of the greatest figures of the Italian Renaissance. Born in 1452 in the town of Vinci, he first made his reputation as an artist in Florence. But he was also a pioneer in modern science, a student of human anatomy, and an inventor of devices that were used in his day as military weapons. He is perhaps best known today for his painting of the Mona Lisa, which now hangs in the Louvre in Paris, and for his fresco of The Last Supper, located in Milan. Older boys and girls will find hours of reading ...

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Overview

Leonardo was one of the greatest figures of the Italian Renaissance. Born in 1452 in the town of Vinci, he first made his reputation as an artist in Florence. But he was also a pioneer in modern science, a student of human anatomy, and an inventor of devices that were used in his day as military weapons. He is perhaps best known today for his painting of the Mona Lisa, which now hangs in the Louvre in Paris, and for his fresco of The Last Supper, located in Milan. Older boys and girls will find hours of reading pleasure in the very accessible biographies in the My Name Is ... series. The narratives are substantial, averaging roughly 7,500 words each, as they recount their subjects’ accomplishments in the context of their times and historical backgrounds. Each book’s narrative is supplemented with handsome full-color illustrations, including some of full-page size. Titles in this series make ideal additions both to school and home libraries, and can serve as supplementary reading for classroom discussion and essay projects. A two-page time line at the back of each book summarizes the subject’s life, as well as important cultural and historical events that occurred during his lifetime.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Cindy Faughnan
Each paperback in this four-volume series introduces a well-known person from history, science, art, culture, literature, or philosophy. The books are written as though the person is telling the story of his life from when and where he was born and his early years through the events that made him famous until his death. Each book explores the reasons the person acted the way he did at some of the most famous points in his life. The books are very conversational. The first chapter titled "Hello . . ." gives an overall introduction to the person. Often the narrator interrupts himself to say that he is getting ahead of his story or that what he is talking about is part of a different story. Leonardo da Vinci talks about why science and nature were so important to his art and discusses the controversy around the Mona Lisa and answers the question of who really was the model. Chapters are one to three pages long, with illustrations on every page and sometimes a two-page spread. Although the illustrations try to show the period that the subject lived in, they do not show the actual paintings. Readers who seek out paintings and works of art that are talked about in the books will have a richer reading experience. These books straddle the line between fiction and nonfiction because of the first-person narrative voice. They deal with the relationships that each of these men had, both good and bad. Each book ends with a two-page time line that looks at the events in the person's life along with happenings in the world at the time. Even with the questionable narrative and the lack of actual art, this series gives young readers an interesting taste of the subject's life and accomplishments in avery accessible form. These are good, short introductions to famous people. Because of their readability, they will inspire their readers to seek further information.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-In each of these books, a famous person "narrates" his life story. Da Vinci contains some interesting details that are not widely known, such as the fact that the artist had a sweet tooth and was known to make models out of marzipan. However, the other titles contain only common fare about their subjects. The books are highly fictionalized and there is no attempt to reference the thoughts or actions related. Picasso is replete with distracting colloquialisms like, "Anyway, I can't complain" and "However, as the saying goes, all things must pass." Van Gogh awkwardly addresses the artist's many romantic attachments and how they affected his work. "Some people, including my family, thought we were sinners. Nonsense! Is it a sin to be in love?" All four books are illustrated with colorful cartoons. In the titles about artists, the illustrations attempt to replicate the style of the subject. However, without captions, it is difficult to tell when the illustrations represent the artwork mentioned in the text and when they simply depict a scene from the man's life. The "Smart about Art" series (Grosset & Dunlap) presents artists' lives in an accessible manner and includes photographs of their work. It's a better choice.-Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764133923
  • Publisher: Barron's Educational Series, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/2006
  • Series: My Name Is ...
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.20 (d)

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