With this illuminating biography, Krull (The Boy on Fairfield Street) kicks off her planned six-volume Giants of Science series. Krull convincingly portrays her subject, noting the Renaissance man's remarkably far-reaching accomplishments while also conveying his humanity and sense of humor. She places him in the context of his times, describing him as an outsider (as one born out of wedlock) and explains that the young Leonardo had a close rapport with his "scientist-farmer" uncle, and that "the natural world was Leonardo's first laboratory." When Leonardo became a teenager, his father secured for him an apprenticeship to Florence's leading painter and sculptor (luckily, "artists didn't necessarily have to be respectable," Krull observes with a wink), Andrea del Verrocchio. From him Leonardo learned that "an artist should be capable of rendering anything in nature." This lesson forged a vital link between science and art that endured throughout Leonardo's life. Krull describes the impact of Gutenberg's movable type, and the resulting knowledge giving rise to a greater influx of ideas as more people had access to books. The author also underscores the significance of a series of notebooks (written backwards), which were "the core obsession of Leonardo's life" and are "what place him among the giants of science." With an inviting, conversational narrative and Kulikov's (The Perfect Friend, reviewed Aug. 15) occasional atmospheric pen-and-inks, this series launches with an impressive start. Ages 10-up. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
The "Giants of Science" series brings us a fine edition dedicated to one of the great minds of all time. Many people think of da Vinci's art, but his scientific mind brought ideas, inventions, and research that have changed our world and continue to amaze us. Leonardo came from very humble beginnings. Many people influenced his very early lifefor example, an uncle who loved nature and taught him many things about farming, plants, animals and the seasons. The artist Verrocchio became his early art teacher. His instruction included animal dissections to learn how their bodies went to together for the sake of painting or sculpting them. The invention of the printing press and the availability of books also gave many more options to Leonardo. He was curious about everything. This book will give the reader a good overview of da Vinci's life, the trials and the triumphs. There is also a bibliography of other works about him for young readers, website listings, and an index. A special chapter details where his famous notebooks are stored around the world. 2005, Viking Press, Ages 8 up.
Gr 4-8-With a totally captivating opening and a conversational writing style, Krull offers a vivid description of life in the Middle Ages: no printed books, no bathrooms, and a belief in magic. In a time when pig manure was used to cure nosebleeds, the dawning of the Renaissance would have been quite a contrast indeed. The book moves along at a steady clip and adds details to bring da Vinci and his times to life. The author discusses his lonely childhood, his insatiable curiosity and craving for knowledge, and how his illegitimate status affected his life. Most importantly, she shows the workings of a scientific mind and the close connection between science and art. Kulikov's stylish and exacting line drawings are engaging and incorporate many of the items and interests found in Leonardo's notebooks. Readers will come away from this accessible volume with an understanding of who Leonardo was and a desire to know more about this fascinating, brilliant man.-Laura Younkin, Ballard High School, Louisville, KY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Debuting a new series, Krull presents a compelling argument that the great painter of the Renaissance was one of the West's first real modern scientists. Into the stew of superstition that passed for scientific thought in medieval Europe was born Leonardo, illegitimate and therefore only very sketchily schooled, he grew up largely on his own, rambling around his family's property and observing nature. The portrait that emerges is of a magpie mind: He studied and thought and wrote about very nearly everything. The breezy text draws heavily from Leonardo's own writings, discussing his groundbreaking forays into anatomy, water management and flight, always propelled by a commitment to direct scientific observation. That Krull manages, in some 100-plus text pages, to present Leonardo's scientific accomplishments while at the same time conveying a sense of the man himself-his probable homosexuality is presented frankly, as are his pacifism and the overriding opportunism that had him designing weapons of war for the Duke of Milan-is no mean feat and bodes well for the succeeding volumes in the series. (appendix, bibliography, Web sites, index) (Biography. 10-14)