Pippo the Foolby Tracey E. Fern, Pau Estrada
Was Pippo the Fool really Pippo the Genius?
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence was a marvel of art, architecture, and engineering. But it lacked a finishing ornament, a crowna dome! The city fathers had a solution: to invite the finest masters to compete for the chance to design a dome. The rumors of this contest reached the ears of
Was Pippo the Fool really Pippo the Genius?
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence was a marvel of art, architecture, and engineering. But it lacked a finishing ornament, a crowna dome! The city fathers had a solution: to invite the finest masters to compete for the chance to design a dome. The rumors of this contest reached the ears of Filippo Brunelleschi, better known in Florence as Pippo the Fool. As soon as he heard about the contest, Pippo knew it was the chance he had been waiting for. "If I can win the contest, I will finally lose that nickname once and for all!"
This book tells the story of the construction of an architectural masterpieceBrunelleschi's Dome. Tracey E. Fern depicts Pippo's prickly personality with humor and warmth, and Pau Estrada's richly detailed illustrations bring Renaissance Florence to life. An excellent way to introduce kids to an important moment in Western engineering and history.
A slice of history is served à la Florentine for the delectation of curious minds in this revealing portrait of genius Filippo Brunelleschi. Determined and stubborn, he vies with a more physically and cosmetically advantaged rival in a competition to select the designer and builder of a dome to grace Renaissance Florence's grand cathedral. Estrada's excellent watercolor and gouache illustrations detail 1400s Florence perfectly, from costumes to workshops to construction sites to the soaring towers projecting above the red rooftops crammed inside the city walls. Fern's humorous text brings Pippo's crabby persona to cranky life as he ponders, sketches, schemes, calculates, and competes his way to a glorious completed dome and lasting fame. Extended author's and illustrator's notes answer questions that may be raised by the simple text, and a short list of resources (adult materials) is appended. This neat blend of fact and fiction is as seamlessly constructed as the intricate brickwork of the dome on the Duomo.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
Meet the Author
Tracey E. Fern writes for various magazines and is the author of children's historical books including, BUFFALO MUSIC (Clarion), DARE THE WIND (FSG), and W IS FOR WEBSTER (Melanie Kroupa Books). She lives in West Newton, Massachusetts.
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What pleasure to find a book for youngsters that is both thoroughly entertaining and educational. Young readers will smile and learn through the pages of Pippo The Fool. His given name was Filippo Brunelleschi but some five centuries ago there were those in Florence who called him Pippo the fool.
That city's Santa Maria del Fiore was amazing, an unparalleled example of architecture and engineering. It only lacked one thing - a dome. So, those in power decided to have a contest to determine who might design the dome. "The news swept across the broad piazzas and twisted through the narrow streets of Florence. `To design a dome for the cathedral,'the market women whispered over their plump purple figs."
Never had there been so much excitement! The word reached Pippo, a goldsmith who created beautifully delicate pieces but he wanted to do more. Much of his time was spent designing structures that people considered odd. He decided that if he could win the contest he would no longer be called Pippo the fool.
Renaissance masters including Lorenzo Ghiberti made fun of Pippo, saying no one would let him design even a simple shack. Although the construction of such a dome had puzzled Italian architects for a century, Pippo worked and worked, determined that he could do it. The judges scoffed at him and carried him out of the cathedral "like a platter of pasta." Still he persevered.
Youngsters will learn the value of determination, thoughtfulness and imagination in this colorful story of Filipo Brunelleschi. Pau Estrada's illustrations are a delight, bringing Renaissance Florence to us with bold bright full page paintings.
- Gail Cooke