Monday, March 5, 2012

Neo Leo

Booklist (July 2009 (Vol. 105, No. 21))

Grades 1-3. This lively introduction to the visionary ideas of Leonardo da Vinci uses one side of each spread to portray a modern invention, while re-creations of Leonardo’s original sketches occupy the other, accompanied by a quick scene of the great thinker coming up with his fantastic designs. Breaking his massive body of work down into bite-size chunks works well, allowing children to visually align the similarities of his prototypes for an airplane, tank, contact lens, or movie projector with their more modern incarnations mirrored across the fold. Mirrors play yet another role in this book, as bits of additional information about Leonardo’s sketches are presented in the same backward writing that he used in his diaries. Berreta’s colorful and comical artwork keeps the scientific subject matter fun, with smiling, apple-cheeked characters populating the pages and a gray-bearded da Vinci scribbling notes while studying the world around him. A fine choice to introduce the famous man, his peerless ideas, and the forward-thinking role of inventors in general.

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